Hello again, guys. I’m pretty sure all of us are feeling the pinch economically. We keep hearing how our parents brought us up with only N10,000 per month, yet we KNOW we can’t manage the same (inflation and the poor economy). And there seems to be more pressure nowadays to give your child the best. So how do navigate the murky waters of Family Finance? We’ve got some tips!
Be Reasonable, Be Sensible
There are so many beautiful things happening on Instagram: vendors for elaborate children’s party decor, vendors for fancy dresses, vendors for children’s photography, vendors for children’s photoshoot backdrop, vendors for nursery decor, vendors for pricey summer camps and fancy-schmancy after-school programs (Mandarin and French for 4 year olds, anyone?).
Please, take a step back. Your child DOESN’T need all that. Focus on the basics: a good family setting, a decent school and a nurturing environment. Leave the rest for when you can afford to pay it and pay for those services without feeling a pinch (no scrimping and saving to throw a lavish birthday party and telling yourself “I can afford it”, you can’t).
A Good School =/= An Expensive School
We sadly don’t have a decent Public Educational System here. But a lot of Private schools are also not it and there is a trend for people to actually run their schools as a profitable business, focused on profits rather than quality. So your child may be attending a N300,000/term Primary School but can barely read. But you also don’t want to cheap out: Scooby Doo Primary School (yes, it exists in Egbeda) doesn’t quite sound like they have the best teachers there. A good school is firstly, according to Money Matters With Nimi, one you can afford. And if you use our guide to picking a good school, you should be able to get more bang for your buck.
Cut Down on Extracurriculars
It’s tempting to want to enroll your child for Ballet, French, Coding, Theatre, Karate, Music and Science Club…at age 3. But that’s because you don’t want them to miss out. Here’s the thing: the most successful people didn’t do everything. They focused on their strengths. My friend’s son is deeply unmusical and I had to tell her, so she would stop paying N50,000/month for Music lessons he hated. Focus on what your kid likes and enjoys, at the appropriate age. A 7 year old can learn a new language, so let’s keep Mandarin class till then (unless you’re moving to China). Coding is important but try a cheap Coding toy or game at home first before you shell out thousands for coding camp. Your child will thank you in the future when they don’t feel pressured and bored.
Buy in Bulk
Which is cheaper, a sachet of 380g of milk for N1040, or a sachet of 900g of milk for N1710? Do you know it’s frugal to buy in bulk? Always comparison-shop. A deep freezer to store bowls of food will end up saving you a lot of money.
Nigeria is sadly not a community-based society, no matter what we say. My friends abroad had their kids babysat by other mums. One even had her child BREASTFED by a mum in her community! (they offered me free bottles of expressed breastmilk if I wanted`). Now, that’s probably a bit much but there are ways to community parent in Nigeria. It makes a lot of sense to pool resources together and ask one mum to go to Balogun Market and Ketu for provisions. It will come out cheaper (especially if you don’t have space in your home for cartons of your provisions). How about Car-Pooling (Mondays and Wednesdays, you pick the kids from school, Tuesdays and Thursdays your neighbour), saves on fuel and time.
Try and think up some more tips for maximising your Family’s Finance, I’m sure more will come to you. Take care.