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Tips for Overcoming Financial Hardship

Tips for Overcoming Financial Hardship

Despite not being in a recession, Nigeria is currently grappling with tough economic challenges. The devaluation of the naira and a high inflation rate have made it difficult for many Nigerians to make ends meet. Insecurity in the country’s food belts has led to a surge in food prices, further burdening people who are already struggling to afford basic necessities.

Today, we will look at different methods to handle and overcome financial hardships.

 Emergency funds

In today’s world, having emergency funds is crucial. Financial emergencies can occur unexpectedly to anyone, leading to financial chaos without a safety net. It’s important to prioritize building an emergency fund as part of your financial plan.

The first step to begin creating your emergency fund is your budget. Instead of viewing budgeting as a constraint, see it as a tool for understanding your spending habits and making informed financial choices. Think of it like a seatbelt, not handcuffs.

Begin by analysing your monthly income and expenses to determine an amount you can conveniently save monthly. Identify areas where you can reduce unnecessary spending to allocate more funds to your emergency fund. By living within your means and adhering to a budget, you can gradually build your emergency fund.

Once you have established a budget, take proactive steps to create and maintain your emergency fund. Set a specific savings target aligned with your financial situation and long-term goals. Aim to save three to six months’ worth of living expenses to prepare for unforeseen emergencies. Consider opening a separate savings account exclusively for your emergency fund to prevent temptation and ensure the money remains untouched until necessary. Automating your savings through regular transfers to your emergency fund can help you build it steadily over time, providing a financial safety net.

Regularly review and adjust your budget as life circumstances change. Allocate time monthly to track expenses, identify overspending, and reallocate funds to your emergency fund accordingly.

Lastly, prioritise consistent funding for your emergency fund, treating it as a necessary expense akin to rent or utilities. Taking your finances seriously will ensure you have a reliable safety net when needed.


Budgeting is germane to financial freedom. It is the most effective method to monitor income and expenditure. Personal budgets can help you monitor your resources in pursuit of larger financial goals. Budgeting also offers more opportunities to save money, reduce your debts and live a comfortable life. The ability to earn income is critical to sustaining livelihoods. Also, having a definite source of income is the bedrock of budgeting.

However, some important questions you should ask about your income and how you might budget with it include; What is my current income? What do I use my income for? Can I save with my current income? What proportion of my income do I save, and what proportion do I spend? Do I have the capacity to earn more than this?

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After establishing your budget, keep in mind that it is adaptable and should reflect any changes in your circumstances. For example, funds earmarked for a car purchase could instead be invested in promising ventures such as buying shares in multinational companies.

Additionally, unforeseen events like health emergencies or career advancement opportunities may necessitate withdrawing funds from savings. Ultimately, budgeting should be flexible to accommodate unexpected needs, particularly when addressing present circumstances that lead to long-term benefits.

Once your budget is established, it is time to deploy tactics to trim expenses, a critical step in optimising your finances and allocating more resources to savings or debt reduction. Here are some effective strategies for expense reduction:

Prioritise necessities

Distinguish between essential needs and discretionary wants. Focus on fulfilling your basic needs before indulging in non-essential purchases. This shift in mindset can lead to more deliberate spending choices.

Negotiate bills and subscriptions

Evaluate your monthly bills and subscriptions for potential negotiation opportunities. Contact service providers or explore alternative options to potentially lower expenses.

Decrease energy usage

Embrace energy-saving practices like turning off lights when not in use, utilising energy-efficient appliances, and adjusting your thermostat. These simple adjustments can notably decrease utility costs over time.

Prepare meals at home

Dining out can be costly. By cooking meals at home, you not only save money but also gain control over ingredients and portion sizes. Consider meal planning and batch cooking to save both time and money.

Resist impulse buys

Before making a purchase, assess whether it fulfils a genuine need or merely a desire. Implement a waiting period for non-essential purchases, allowing time for reflection on how they align with your financial objectives.


Savings have been described as a financial stabiliser, given their potential to cater for urgent needs and create opportunities for investments. Savings have more value when they grow faster than the rate of inflation. Inflation erodes the value of savings. For instance, saving N300,000 to purchase a tricycle today may be impossible in two months with an inflation rate of 10 per cent when the tricycle price rises to N330,000.

Therefore, it is advisable to improve the value of savings through investments in interest-yielding assets such as stocks, shares, bonds, microfinance and production.

That is not to say it is always easy to save. Many income earners spend as they go, not seeing savings as part of their budgets.

Harsh economic realities can also make it difficult—sometimes seemingly impossible—to save. But it is not impossible. Savings can be made in small amounts, through a daily, weekly or monthly contribution to collections, cooperative schemes or microfinance affiliations. For instance, a point-of-sale business in Nigeria can permit a daily contribution of N500 over 25 work days, giving an average saving of N12,500 per month.

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The Point-of-Sale business started in Nigeria in 2013 when the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced the agent banking system. A POS agent operates and processes transactions through a POS service provider. Providers of such services include banks, microfinance banks and fintech companies.

Generating additional income

During an economic recession, many people find themselves struggling to make ends meet. This is especially true for those who have lost their jobs or are facing reduced wages. However, there are alternative sources of income that can be explored, which can help tide you over during these times.

First of all, freelancing is a great way to earn money on the side, especially if you have a skill or talent that is in demand. For example, if you are a writer, you can offer your services to businesses or individuals who need content for their websites. Similarly, if you are a graphic designer, you can offer your services to businesses that need logos or other design work.

Secondly, with the rise of e-commerce, selling items online has become easier than ever. You can sell anything from handmade crafts to vintage clothing on platforms like Etsy or eBay.

Thirdly, renting out property can also be a way to get additional income. If you have a spare room or a property that is not being used, you can consider renting it out on platforms like Airbnb. This can be a great way to earn extra income.

Lastly, teaching or tutoring is also a great way to make extra income. If you have expertise in a particular subject, you can consider teaching or tutoring. You can offer your services online or in person, and you can work with students of all ages.


Choices are highly personal and heavily influenced by personal circumstances, particularly during economic growth or decline. For instance, a younger individual in good health with a stable income and promising career prospects might lean towards investing during a downturn, unlike an older person or someone in poor health relying on limited savings for daily expenses.

The critical factor here is the difference in time horizon: the younger individual can withstand market fluctuations and recuperate losses over time, while the older individual cannot. However, these broad observations may not apply universally; the younger investor might have familial responsibilities, prioritising savings for their children’s education, while the older investor may possess significant assets and aim to build wealth for future generations, altering their time horizon.

Additionally, some investors naturally exhibit a higher risk tolerance and may be more comfortable investing during volatile periods, regardless of their circumstances. Regardless of when one chooses to invest, whether during a crisis or not, there are strategies to mitigate risk, such as diversification, value investing, and dollar-cost averaging.


Spread investments across various stocks, bonds, and funds to balance risk. While it is not necessary to invest in everything, diversification minimises the impact of underperforming investments.

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Strategic investing

During an economic crisis, avoid high-risk sectors like startups and luxury goods. Instead, focus on stable companies with low debt, strong cash flow, and established markets.

Cost averaging

Invest fixed amounts at regular intervals instead of in one lump sum, allowing for smoother market entry and reducing the impact of market volatility.

Implementing these strategies enhances financial resilience during economic downturns.

Emergency funds and budgeting optimise spending, while expense reduction minimises costs. Maximising savings, exploring additional income, and informed investing foster stability and long-term wealth. Overall, they promote financial preparedness and stability in challenging times.

BIC, a global leader in stationery, lighters, and shavers, has announced the launch of the sixth edition of the Art Master Africa competition, to promote creativity across the continent.

According to a statement, this year, artists across Africa and the Middle East are challenged to express their interpretation of “Ubuntu,” a Bantu philosophy that emphasises the interconnectedness of humanity, using the iconic BIC ballpoint pen.

It stated that submissions opened on April 19, 2024, through the BIC Art Master Africa website.

It added that participants have three months to create their masterpieces before judging commences.

According to the firm, winners will be announced in the last quarter of the year, adding that entries would be judged based on creativity, originality, and technical skill in utilising the BIC ballpoint pen.

Commenting on the occasion, Art Master Africa custodian, and Marketing Director for Middle East and Africa at BIC, Gregory Alibaux, said: “We are pleased to kick off the highly anticipated competition, Art Master Africa.

“We continue to provide a platform for artists and creatives in the region to help them express themselves—all in line with our commitment to encourage self-expression and creativity.

“This year is special for the competition as it also marks the year where we elevated the program by launching an Art Master Africa metaverse gallery, crossing borders, and bringing African talent to the world.”

Art Master Africa was started in 2017 in South Africa, but the competition expanded into the wider Middle East and Africa regions, following the impact of the competition.

According to the firm, every year, BIC introduces a theme, that creatives are asked to depict using the BIC ballpoint pen.

It was noted that this year’s theme, Ubuntu, invited artists to express what unity and interconnectedness within Africa mean to them.

The statement mentioned that Art Master Africa has connected with over 6,000 artists from across the region.

According to the 2023 Africa Wealth Report, the value of the fine art market in Africa reached approximately $1.8 billion by December 2022.


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