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Ugo Chinakwe: Changes I Have Made Because of the Rising Exchange Rates



Sometime last year, news reached us that dollar was exchanging for 185 to a Naira. As someone who has a little addiction to online shopping, I knew I had to make changes. Now that dollar exchanges for 225, I drew up a mental list of the changes I had to make. The top of which will be to stop shopping. Please find below the list of changes I have made so far. I do hope it helps.

Read the washing instructions on my clothes
I just received my drycleaning bill and I wasn’t enthused. I called the owner of my drycleaning store to ask why the bill for a dress was so high. He called his team and they said it’s because the dress had beads. I quickly set him straight. I don’t own a single dress with beads. Come to think of it, some of my clothes don’t require dry cleaning, a simple hand wash will do. I will subsequently hand wash clothes that don’t require special care and dry clean the ones with beads.

Travel quietly
I travelled last year and paid about 150 pounds for excess luggage. Most of the things in that extra bag was stuff for my siblings and friends. This year if I do manage to travel, the right hand will not know what the left hand is doing. Don’t tell anybody you are travelling, don’t post pictures and even if someone sees you at the airport say you escorted your mum. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Save in foreign currency
It’s a known fact that the Dollar and Pound are more stable. I used to live in the UK so I have an account with one of the banks. Even after I moved back I used to buy pounds when I could and transfer to my UK account. The interest rates are crap but with this new exchange rate I have made a small spread; plus if I have to buy anything in the UK I don’t have to scramble for pounds. UK banks will not let you open an account with a visiting visa but US banks do. So when next you are on a vacay, don’t empty out your account at Target or forver 21. Take some cash and open an account.

Avoid the washing machine
I visited my brother in the US and his wife asked me to put my underwear in the laundry basket. I had always hand washed them so I was surprised. From that time till now I have been a believer – I never hand washed my under wear again. Sadly, washine machine makes stuff age faster. I have taken to hand washing them now so they last longer and don’t look washed out in no time, so that when I do travel I can reduce my budgetary allocation for that.

Unsubscribe from store newsletters
You will just be minding your business, a mail will pop up on your phone from Aldo or Next informing you that their spring collection is out. We don’t even have spring in Nigeria so how does that concern me? Or Burlington will email you that you can enjoy free shipping for a week. The Bible says if your eye makes you sin, cut it off. Scroll down to that mail and click the unsubscribe button. Pound is now 350 per Naira, so even the delivery charge is not cheap.

Reheel , Reshapen and Reshuffle
I honestly enjoy the thrill of new stuff. Even a new pot excites me so I dug deep into my closet. Shoes that I stopped wearing because they were too uncomfortable I took them to a cobbler who cut the heels in half. I didn’t even know that could be done. It’s also a good idea to amend clothes that you push to the back of the closet because they don’t fit right and voila. When they come back from the tailor or cobbler, I promise you the new clothes thrill without the price tag.

Prayer is always the key. Pray for more money; but also pray that your phone, iPad or other devices don’t go bad .

Good luck as you navigate the murky waters of the new exchange rate, as I hear dollar will reach 250 by summer time.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Atholpady 

I was born Ugo Oragwu exactly 34 years ago. I have two very cute boys aged almost 3 and almost 6 months. I have a sister who I strongly believe is my guardian angel in human form. I speak to her almost daily and feel her impact in my life even though we live in different cities. I presently work in the pensions industry. Moved to the Uk at 27 to seek my fortune, never found it there so moved back after a 3 year stay. I believe in God and have a relationship with him


  1. mrs chidukane

    March 13, 2015 at 10:13 am

    I’m still in denial about this exchange rate thing. Some how I just believe it will go down. I’m usually pessimistic but this one is dear to me cos i’m a shopaholic (hangs head). Its so bad,i actually pray about the exchange rate falling every day

    • Olohi

      March 13, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      It actually would go down. Not immediately, but it will.

  2. Aro

    March 13, 2015 at 10:21 am

    lmao why do I love this post ? lol this is totally me
    As at last month . A pound was 320. I saved a lot by sending some money to my lagos account but still the rate at which this is going . It’s really sad

  3. ms.b

    March 13, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Hahahah, nice write up. I paid $200 for excess last week n it was for friends n family also.

  4. Tantra

    March 13, 2015 at 10:34 am

    I like your self intro. Nice article.

  5. eddy

    March 13, 2015 at 10:36 am

    U see trouble! Right under ur post Ashley Stewart is advertising,25% off. Where person go run go hide.

    • o

      March 13, 2015 at 11:15 am


  6. jefka

    March 13, 2015 at 10:50 am

    stay away from asos…………….osho free na im kee mama ngozi

  7. o

    March 13, 2015 at 11:21 am

    i love this post, esp the travel quietly part…..i have been known to carry d oddest things for family and friends, and at a time a full box of Nigerian fabrics for a friend…..i have never had to pay excess tho (the airport ppl always pity me and let my extra 5kg or more slide) but the stress of battling with luggage and having to go tru secondary inspection because someone gave me beans to give his wife has taught me a lesson…NEVER again!!

    • Olohi

      March 13, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      Lol at the beans! Hahahaha. If you’re not My Mom or Dad, I ain’t carrying any heavy or uncomfortable thing for you. Sorry.

  8. Mark

    March 13, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    WOW! Ugo, this is absolutely a very good piece. I love your personality behind this write up and i can feel the emotion, especially the part of about you. Where you said you moved back to Nigeria.
    Wish you the very best and will be looking forward to your next “edifice” of writing.

  9. Ibukun

    March 13, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Nice one.

  10. jummai

    March 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Very nice writeup. Lessons learnt.

  11. Call Me Gorgeous..

    March 13, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Yay, i love this article..
    Points noted rushing off to open an account in yankee!

  12. AMAKA

    March 13, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Like you, I am an online shopping addict.. I buy stuffs almost every week from Asos, even with the increase in exchange rate. However, just yesterday, I uninstalled the Asos and Aliexpress apps on my phone, unsubscribed from their newsletter and blocked their sites on my laptop till further notice. The tin wey man eyes no see no dey hungry am.

  13. Dee

    March 13, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    I love this write up Ugo!
    Short, sweet and to the point. Will definitely be looking out for more of your write-ups.

  14. apryl

    March 13, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    hmmmm. really nice one. time to send more money to naija for keeps so when i return i shall have enough. lol…. but this should be a prayer point oooo, how can dols and pounds be increasing without control

  15. Dame

    March 13, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    loools….very apt. since the rising exchange rate no more ASOS,NEXT, H&M, justfab…… i practice the spirit of UNLOOKING mehn

  16. Mama Oyibo

    March 13, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Nice one

  17. zigizee

    March 13, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    i so love the travel quietly part. even when i was going for honeymoon people kept saying “buy xyz for me” na wa oh

    • Olohi

      March 13, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      Wow, they’re “special”. Honey moon? Gosh.

  18. Ebony

    March 13, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Love the writer.

  19. AsMyself

    March 13, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Totally love the article. Thanks, especially for the heads up re: opening an account in the US.

  20. Busola

    March 13, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    This is just me right now.I am a shopaholic and I shop on impulse too but now I have been forced to stop my online shopping for now.I used to buy twice a month from a UK store and they deliver straight to my house.But I miss my shopping sha,it makes me happy when I just carry my iPad and shop away.Till pounds and dollars come down,no more online shopping.

  21. D

    March 13, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    So I saw this and rannnn to West Union’s website…sho see these people still selling $1`-N196???

  22. nnenne

    March 14, 2015 at 1:19 am

    I don’t want to be perceived as insensitive but Nigerians should realize that wherever you are the exchange rate is tailored to match your living standard. The key is learning how to manage your resources wherever you find yourself.
    The cost of an apartment in Lagos is certainly not the same in New York.

  23. Efee

    March 14, 2015 at 5:46 am

    hahaha….Girl, na true you talk ooo….Love this write up!

  24. shopaholic

    March 22, 2015 at 6:37 am

    I have two big bag of clothes at my mom’s house,im there now and stumbled upon this. I found a pair of jeans I bought on my 1st trip to uk 5years ago but I’ve never worn and 2 shirts H&M shirts,ive worn once or 2ce… the bags here are filled with goodies,it feels like shopping
    My emphasis on where I bought the shirts and the jeans is just to remind myself that women get wahala sha
    Just yesterday I was saying to my husband that I need to shop for clothes and he scolded me on my love for clothes
    It’s crazy,we just can’t get enough and when we buy it sef,its only to wear it once or twice and go crazy for the next stuff
    Ok so i need to be sure the jeans still fits right or if I need to buy another
    I… cant… stop

  25. cos I say so

    March 22, 2015 at 7:35 am

    Quick update: im so excited,ive found 4 pairs of jeans I haven’t worn in about 4years and don’t even get me started on the blouses and dresses I “rediscovered” (this has saved me about 20k in shopping-that was my budget)
    I’m getting the same high i’d get from buying new clothes and I bought all these stuff when I had more money than I knew what to do with(kai,those delicious days of “send me ur account details” and take this for lunch… I don marry,e don end). the quality of the clothes is way higher than I can anything I can afford now
    Now that owu is blowing harsh harmattan wind,sumborry can like to shop in their “old but new” clothes box…. hehehehe
    Necessity is really the grandaddy of invention… oya off to look for shoes.
    Dancing shoki

  26. PinkQueen

    March 23, 2015 at 8:27 am

    stay away from asos…………….osho free na im kee mama ngozi

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