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Waazaki, the JJC Nigerian Student: How To Save money as an International Student



dreamstime_m_14798025Exchange rates haven’t been so fair to us; neither has the cost of tuition, accommodation, transportation and books. Forex cannot even do Throw Back to when the rate was £1 to N250. (*sigh*)  Painful Sturvz.

In the light of this, I think it’s wise to consider how we can save money as students. Tips and tricks we could apply here and there to live a popping, yet cost effective student life. I am very excited to write this article, not only because I think would I be helping someone out there save some money,but because I am certain I would learn a thing or two from your comments. (I’m still a JJC, let’s just help ourselves in this economy)

Open a Savings Account
As you are opening a current or student’s account, request to open a savings account too. (Preferably the two accounts with the same bank). By so doing, it would be easier and faster to transfer money you intend to save to your savings account or transfer from savings to current, in cases of emergencies.  I would also suggest that you save 1/3 of your monthly allowance…just because it makes sense. But then again, live within your means. If you can survive comfortably on the remaining 2/3, we move!

It’s advisable that once your allowance gets to your current account, transfer your savings immediately…no negotiations or considerations. Just do it! If you’re too much of an O.B.O to save, you might as well just close this page now. Jokes. Let’s be friends please. Let’s spend your money together. I kid. But I kid you not.

Buy second hand textbooks
Depending on the course, you could spend about £200 or more, buying textbooks from a renowned bookstore or the school bookshop. Meanwhile, you could have spent less purchasing from Amazon or Ebay. Importantly, I’d advice that you buy second hand copies from these online stores. Better still, asking or purchasing from those a year ahead is a fantastic plan; second years sell or maybe even give out their old textbooks to first years. However, if the publisher makes significant changes with every new edition, be sure to check that the edition is up to date.

You do not need to purchase every textbook on the recommendations list. If you could easily get the same at the library, don’t be in a hurry to buy it… Borrowing gang. They would think you’re a serious student with many library books…if only they knew!

Join a Nigerian Society or Attend Nigerian religious gatherings
At first, one may want to avoid most ‘nigerian-ny’ things, people, societies or organisations, (I was part of those ones) but trust me, some are worth it. If you’re a christian, you may join churches like KICC, RCCG, Winners, Deeper Life, MFM and the likes. Besides the spiritual benefits, most of these church members eventually become like family. You get to meet and make friends, ask questions and get answers from people that understand your accent and are ready to help. Importantly, several church members (Phd Students, final year students and co) often offer to proof read my assignments or find time to discuss some complicated essay topic. Lastly, refreshments after service and Jollof rice every thanksgiving Sunday! You won’t want to miss that. *wink*

If you’re not religious or perhaps a muslim, do join the Nigerian society. It’s as fun as it can be. But then again, you could form ‘I can do bad all by myself’. Figure your way through this. It works sometimes. Bahd! Baddo! Baddest!

Locate your Local Market
Whatever Uni you’re in, I am positive there would be a centralised local market somewhere. And by Local Market, I do not mean a super market. Irrespective of how cheap or affordable their prices are. I mean a proper proper market, of course quite modernised. Here you can buy fresh vegetables (Tomatoes, pepper, vegetable leaves for soup etc) fruits, chicken, fish, gizzard and most likely get a couple of African Caribbean shops too! This is a fantastic food shopping alternative as you would get most food items there in larger quantities, fresher and cheaper than those offered in supermarkets.

Become friends with the owner of the Afro Caribbean shop. You may get better bargains because you’re a fine Yoruba girl. You may just be lucky. Don’t go and unleash your African blood and start pricing upandan. ‘Price’ with swerg please.

Lord knows how much money I’ve saved from cooking myself, (my mother’s home training efforts weren’t in vain). Keep testing, trying, experimenting and ‘practicalising’ YouTube videos umtil you get there. Lets do the Maths. Purchasing foodstuff, ingredients and condiments may come to about £50-£80 monthly. Meanwhile, an average medium pepperoni Dominos Pizza is £14.99. Multiplied by 10 days would be about £150… And that’s on the assumption that pizza would be eaten once a day without considering the usual switch to Chinese or the added sides and drinks that may come with the order.  Honestly, YouTube is the way.

Most girls are usually eager to teach guys how to cook. They’d think you’re so cute once you ask. Cooking is one sure way to increase your bride price in U.K and make friends or even boyfriend(s) sharp sharp. Once they know you can cook Nigerian foods or your Jollof is banging…Jackpot! They’d start calling you names like “Mama!” “Number 1 bae!” “Wazi baby” “Madam de Madam” and start selling your market too …“You don chop her jollof? My guy that thing no be here o”.

Please share your experiences… how do/did you save money as an international student?

Photo Credit: Mary Katherine Wynn |

Waazaki is a student excited about living and learning in a different environment. She is a retired naturalista, unrepentant bargain hunter and professional bathroom artiste.


  1. Ibiza

    September 12, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    When I saw the article topic, I was about to jump and pass until I saw the writer.
    Lol I remember you, where have you been ‘Wazi Baby’?

    I agree with most of what you’ve said. I’d just add that, a wise student would also get a side job and earn I pounds or dollars…or what have you and save!
    Also, a trick that will help cut back on frivolities is, doing a mental conversion to Naira before indulging.

    • mimi

      September 12, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      That mental conversion to naira no be lie mehn. Keeps me in line all the time.

    • Red

      September 12, 2016 at 9:21 pm

      Additional points:
      1: E-Books – Most school libraries offer the E-Books equivalents for free. The only clause here is that they cannot be downloaded. Thus, they are only accessible via a web link. If the download option is available, it is usually for a short period of time.

      2: Library – Also, the libraries have a maximum number of the books (hard copy) on reserve and for a short time. Get it girl! Lol.

      3: Student Discounts: Most schools have a good relationship with retail stores and surrounding companies looking to build on business opportunities. Resultantly, the perks of this includes some freebies and discounts for the students of the schools. Confirm from your Student Resources center or when you visit the stores, just ask. You never know.

      4: Freebies (again): Attend school functions. They always had out free swag, coupons and free food/snacks. And the Wi-Fi connection is second to none. Lol.

      5: 99cent stores are heaven sent. That’s all I can say. ?????

      6: Locate affordable options e.g for food, Trader Joe’s over Whole foods, for make-up, E.L.F over MAC.

      Well, that’s about it for now. There’s more. Hehehheej

    • Femi

      September 12, 2016 at 10:46 pm

      Me too lol

  2. "changing moniker"

    September 12, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    I love this author. I’m in Nigeria, but can we still be friends?

    • Sara

      September 12, 2016 at 10:32 pm

      I love her too! Wazaaki lets be friends!!

  3. Yetty Baby

    September 12, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Don’t try to be like the Jones or Ajayis or Emekas. Live within your means. Banks and stores will offer you credit cards, but you can always decline. If you are in the US, get a good book on financial education (e.g., books by Suzi Orman or Dave Ramsey). Educate yourself on how to manage your finances in your new country. Th little you have can go a long way.

    • Delta ge

      September 12, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      The credit card thing is a bit tricky. I would say learn how to spend your money wisely and then get a credit card because it would help you to build a credit score if you decide to stay in whatever country. A good credit score will make things like renting a house after grad easier.

    • Mr. Egghead

      September 12, 2016 at 11:56 pm

      I’m curious about this credit score thing. I understand it’s crucial to getting good loans in the future
      Moving soon and I’ve heard different pieces of advice about how to build a good score.

      Some say the best way is to reduce expenses, make small payments with cash and only use the card for something you can afford to pay for in cash at a later date. That way you won’t get to your card limit and the bank will know you’re not frivolous.

      Then I heard don’t use cash at all. Use your cards regularly and get to the limit but make sure you repay. The more you use and repay, the larger the limit the bank is able to extend you.

      How exactly do you build a good credit score

    • Delta geh

      September 13, 2016 at 2:36 am

      Hello Mr Egghead,
      To build a good credit score you have to use the credit card but not necessarily for all your expenses. Make sure you’re not spending money you don’t have and always pay back your balance as it comes due.

    • Delta geh

      September 13, 2016 at 2:38 am

      Oh and lastly I won’t advise for you to use your card for everything so you won’t be tempted to over spend. You can buy gas with it for example and pay your utility bills etc. Make sure you use it at least moderately but you don’t have to use it for everything. And don’t overspend! Pay back as it comes due.

    • Anon

      September 13, 2016 at 11:01 am

      Avoid getting a credit card. To help build and improve your credit score, get a pay monthly phone, landline or broadband and pay by direct debit. Paying your bills early is much better than getting a credit card. Spending money that’s not yours. Debit all the way.

  4. Saas

    September 12, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    Lol lol. Lol. Girl you’re jokess

  5. Sarah A

    September 12, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    Excellent article and I couldn’t agree with you more. Great practical tips!

  6. Meezy

    September 12, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    I read this thing in class and nearly burst out laughing! Good tips! But that ~$105 a month for food is quite slim. The amount of discipline to stick with that budget no be of this world…

  7. Savoir

    September 12, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Lmao thanks girl. I’d save it for the future…had to defer my entry this year cus of the economy.

    Can you be my school advisor when I come next year? Lol

  8. MAF

    September 12, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    I cook one pot of jollof rice and eat it for the whole semester. Then i start drinking garri when the rice finishes. #Team broke gang. I cannot goan steal just because of America.

  9. AHausaChickInToronto

    September 12, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    Very good points but students should be careful to not be friends with the “wrong people” you know them types that you don’t know where their parents get their money from, they spend frivorously and might influence your spending habits. Be careful who you’re friends with, that is one of the most important thing you can do as a student and I never bought text books (even second hand) when I was in Uni, I always borrowed from the library. Books are really expensive.

    • Naijatalk

      September 13, 2016 at 9:11 am

      Very sound piece of advice. This was me in college.

  10. The real D

    September 12, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    Buy used books??? Naah in this day and age? Even if there is no E-version. Amazon allows you to rent for the entire semester at a fraction of the price. A class I am currently taking (to change career fields) a used sef is $100+, rented on Amazon for $25 with free return too.

  11. Nelo

    September 12, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    If you can afford text books buy, if not make sure you reserve the books early at the library.

    I think it unnecessary mentioning names of churches. I’m catholic and the catholic community is huge and very helpful. To each their own. maintain your faith, Be wary of any church that will coax you to use your parents funds to sow seed o! Although I know many pentecostal churches, when I was in uni, would use free food to entice the Nigerian uni students to attend, particularly the guys, who don’t know how to cook. In the end those who r there for the food, will swerve wen the food ends, lol.

    The Muslim society is also there for Muslim students.

    • Sara

      September 12, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      You missed the point

  12. Ray

    September 12, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Wazi Wazi. Wazi baby. Very awesome post. I don’t study abroad, but these are very useful tips.??

  13. Kemi o

    September 12, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    Who are you wazaaki? I love you!!!?

  14. Red

    September 12, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    100% agree with you on this @Nelo. 🙂

  15. Ajala & Foodie

    September 12, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    I did not have ANY Nigerian friend while in college not because I was anti-nigerian but at the time i went to college in my village in ND there was only one other Nigerian in the school and we just did not hang but I only spent $50-$60 on groceries (almost 10 years ago). I made friends though, many lunches and dinners were had at friends places, they knew i was a broke international student that could not work off campus, or get financial aid.

    The international club in my school also had a host family program with different churches around, I had and still have a good relationship with my host parents and was constantly asked over for dinner (at least 2-3 times a week except sundays. Sundays were for lunches and we went out after church and they paid). Many other host families would invite me once in awhile, church would have potlucks too and Wednesday was Bible study or something like that at church and they offered free dinner so people would not have to worry about getting home late and have to deal with cooking (This was a baptist church).

    Joined fellowship in school that was where i met most of my Caucasian friends, who not only proof read my essays, offered me rides to stores and other places and even came to jump start and shovel my car out (when i finally got one) and there is always some event going on, usually involving hot dogs, hamburgers and root beer floats. Once in awhile my friends (from TT) and I would contribute and one in particular would cook all kinds of Caribbean dishes in bulk, we will eat and have left overs to take home and serve us for the week. So if you can’t cook you may want to consider this as an option and with 3 people pooling there was more food. That was how i survived my college days on $60 or less on groceries per month.

    As long as you are not afraid to put yourself out there and are genuinely friendly, you will always find people who are willing to help regardless of race. Now this was in the US, I can’t speak to other countries. If you do the solo life, well, life may be a tad difficult for you.

    • Naijatalk

      September 13, 2016 at 9:20 am

      This right here, the truth. I was not afraid to volunteer at my local church and so I got help with rides, invitations to potluck dinners (the priest was of Italian heritage so would cook gnocchi, the older ones amongst us brought wine and I would take Minute Maid juice. I learned quickly).
      All in all wisdom from above can see you through many challenges in college so always take your burdens to God in prayer in your quiet moments. You’ll be amazed how your needs will be met.

  16. TK

    September 13, 2016 at 12:49 am

    When I was in uni I used to take the school bus to save money and the school bus was free .Also I got a nite job 8pm-1am stocking up the store ,I was able to earn 500pounds every month that helped a lot towards my rent and food. I just used to buy tesco or Asda product it was cheap and it will last for a month …I can’t come and kill myself in UK….it was good experience tho

  17. Lacey

    September 13, 2016 at 12:53 am

    @Ajala &Foodie, most Chuches in the US,you have coffee and snacks in Sunday School, dinner in Bible study during the week and every other Sunday there is always one Lunch or the other and like you said people are nice and friendly! They will take you to the stores in their cars, some female church members could even shop for you! They always plan trips, I am talking about oyibo and black American churches,as well as some Nigerian Churhches too help people! They call for offering when people are in need! America is more of a giving society more than the Uk,as I studied in the Uk early 2000,men!so many stingy and wicked Nigerians that would give you wrong information because they are in Uk illegally they want you to join them nefarious activities ! I will advice you as a student in the Uk to only seek advice from thorough vetted Nigerians who are highly professional to avoid bad influence from strange bedfellows,

  18. imose

    September 14, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    You know , some days ago a friend was seeking my advise on this . I will just forward this link to her because this here ; sums it all !! Thank you for putting it into a well writen Piece ❤️
    My own story Na for another day … It will be titled : the American Dream journey; how they came , saw and conquered! ???? shout out to all those still hanging in there ( this became my favourite word because that’s the term I was told most times when encouraged By others ?)Have a blessed day !

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