5 NYSC Corpers share their experience with managing 33k monthly
In Nigeria, It’s mandatory for every new graduate to do something called NYSC(National Youth Service Corps). During NYSC, post-graduates are sent to a random state in Nigeria to serve for one year — usually working in schools, radio agencies, etc. The places NYSC Corpers work are called PPAs(Place of Primary Assignment.)
The government supports each NYSC member with a monthly stipend of N33,000($50). At some point, it used to be N19,800 ($30), but it was increased a while ago. Many say that the money is barely enough for them to live on, so we spoke to 5 NYSC Corpers about how they manage their monthly allowance.
In this current economic climate, it is unrealistic to think that one can survive solely on a 33k monthly stipend from the government. When the credit alert enters, I have already spent 15k in my head because of certain expenses that are incurred monthly, e.g., data subscription, airtime, payment of tithe, and transport fare. And that’s not even counting rent, food, and other unforeseen costs.
Fortunately, I receive a monthly stipend from my designated PPA; It’s really small, but it counts towards helping with costs. Also, I have long-term investments that generate a steady income (albeit every three months). Then there’s a chip in from both parents once in a while to support me (God bless them). I don’t necessarily have to worry about rent because I am serving in my state of residence, so I’m at home; I just make sure to contribute money towards diesel costs, food shopping, and any other way I can be a value-adding member in my household.
My experience so far has been underwhelming. In all honesty, the NYSC allowance is supposed to be a decent amount, but because of the current inflation rate, It’s barely enough to get any substantial thing done. In estimated percentages, here’s how I mostly spend it; transport (30%), Mobile Data (30%), Savings(25%), and Miscellaneous(15%). Once the money drops below the 30k mark, it is finished. I’m a Software Engineer, so I have a decent salary. I also have some paid side gigs I do occasionally. I’m happy I have another job; that has helped a lot.
To be honest, I don’t use the 33k at all. I got a job while I was in University, I work as a software engineer, and I earn pretty decently tbh – multiples and multiples of my NYSC allowance. I also found a way to make my company my PPA, and I work from home, so it currently seems like I’m not even doing anything related to NYSC.
I have not been spending my NYSC allowance since I started. The plan was to keep the whole thing and send it to my mom to do with it whatever she pleases. But sometime last week, leaving the money in a Naira account stopped making sense to me, so I called my mom and asked her permission to buy dollars with “her money”, she laughed and said ok. I took the whole thing to Accrue, and got in at about ~N650 per dollar, plus it’s been gaining some interest in my accrue savings pocket.
So right from the moment I got my PPA I already knew how much transport would cost (about 1k daily), and seeing as I work Monday – Saturday, I already prepared my mind that the 33k is for my transport with no room for the likes of Uber/bolt. Luckily my PPA also pays a reasonable amount compared to others, so that covers stuff like lunch at work and any extra cost from transport with no room for savings, talk more of balling.
This is why remote work is great — I have another remote job, and what I earn from it is primarily channeled towards savings, achieving personal goals, and occasional balling.
It serves majorly as my backup. Considering the economy, the whole 33k can be spent in a day. I mean, I have spent the whole of it in 2 days before. I don’t save from it; It’s just for spending as it isn’t a lot, especially when you live on Lagos Island. Also, It is usually paid the following month, so I never really rely on it. Luckily, I work at one of the big 4 firms in Nigeria, so I save from that salary. In fact, what I save is more than my monthly 33k allowance from NYSC.