The one year NYSC is not a time of lack, hunger and suffering because “you are serving your father land.” You can live a decent and comfortable life as a corps member.
While many will encourage you to learn a trade or do business, I still maintain that if you don’t learn how to be frugal in your spending, no matter how much you make at the end of the month; it will not be enough and worse still, you would have worked your butts out.
The truth is that though skill acquisition is very good, I sometimes think it’s overrated. Not everyone wants to make beads, bags and soap. Not everyone has the patience and dexterity required to sew, some of us prefer to patronize our many friends who do wonders with the pedal.
Like I said; skill acquisition is very good and important, but don’t force yourself to enter a mould you can’t fit into, you can’t learn all the trades.
Please don’t get me wrong, I learnt a few skills too baking, beads and all. What I am saying is: if it’s not working for you, don’t stress it and don’t learn because your friends are doing so. There is something else you could do- that one is another gist for another day shaa.
So now, how can you make your alawee do all it needs to do and still have some change to spare?
When I began my youth service, I never liked being called a corper because corpers are known as hungry people. In fact, one time I entered a taxi to go see a friend and because I was in my uniform the taxi driver charged me for half the usual price and told me how he really pitied me.
The fare was just N100 but he collected N50. He told me how the N19800 would never be enough (everyone in this country knows how much corpers are being paid) and how he was already helping me save N50. That was very kind of him shaa but I couldn’t stop laughing. This is one of the many instances where I was pitied for being a corper.
If you are like me and you hate to be seen as a hungry corper, here are a few things that can help you retain cash in your pocket and still meet your daily needs:
Naija green card; A lot of youths don’t know about the Naija green card. With just N1000, you can register and obtain a card that allows you a certain percent discount for your purchases in certain places. Some offer up to 50% discount. That way, you will have some spill over cash to save or spend wisely.
So all you need to do is register and you will be given a list of all the malls or shops where the card is accepted and you can purchase from them in any part of the country.
I use mine and you can imagine the relief that comes with knowing that the discount can make a good pot of soup…Afang soup for that matter.
Discount shops and low price malls; Here in Nigeria, we have this mindset that things in the malls are always expensive and meant for only the very rich ones. Well, it’s not entirely true. I discovered that certain items are way cheaper in the malls than in the open market.
When I began NYSC, I was posted to a town where things are expensive in an annoying way. So here is what my friend and I did with the little free time we had at the beginning: we combed the town and stormed the malls, we wrote down prices of certain goods in the malls, discount malls and open market. We compared the prices and that way we found the best places to shop at the lowest prices. Some things were cheaper in the malls and others in the market so we bought accordingly.
We also discovered the benefit of bulk buying (in reasonable quantities) e.g. we saw a promo where you could buy 1 and pay for 1 or you buy two and get one free. Guess the one we went for! Yea, your guess is right.
Ask a lot of questions; As a corper, you are most likely new to the town, feel free to ask questions. Ask about the market days so you can buy at a better price, ask about the best buys and promos.
Save a little; N19,800 is small no doubt, everyone knows that so don’t kill yourself trying to save N19000 and use N800 in drinking garri for the rest of the month. You could save just a little amount at a time especially if that’s the only income you have while you look out for other opportunities. Some PPA’s don’t pay so it’s best you try to use what you have wisely.
You could walk an extra 15 minutes instead of taking a taxi after all, the white people call it exercising.lol.
As for me, because I was new to Calabar; I took taxis a lot but after a week, it was easier to find my way around town so I did more trekking than taxing especially for short distances.
Finally dear ajuwaya, it’s time to stop the pity party and actually live decent lives. The one year is still part of your life, it is not a time to wallow in self pity and endless complaints but a time to be wise, frugal yet comfortable; finding the balance is key!
I hope this helps.
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