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Iyebiye Olawuyi: Why Buy Designer Clothes Then Borrow to Pay Rent?



At a point in my life, I had one friend who could dress to kill. In fact, what made us become friends was her dressing. She was always wearing all sorts of designers and really nice stuff.

I never once bothered to ask myself where she was getting the money to buy her clothes. Why? Because the last thing I could think of was she would be wearing what she could not afford.

As in, she couldn’t be that dumb na.

But I was totally in shock when she told me she was in dire need of money to pay her rent and had been borrowing for it. I was totally lost for words.

It all got me thinking and asking myself why she would spend so much money on clothes when she knew she had other basic responsibilities like rent.

Rent is not an emergency. It’s not something that comes as a shock. In most places in Nigeria, you have at least one year to save and prepare for it – unless something unexpected occurred that made you move without notice.

The whole incident got me to observe more and realise that many of those we see wearing designer clothes, using the latest phones and cars cannot actually afford it in the real sense.

Some have mortgaged their life earnings for years to come, just to impress and oppress people.

Someone was laughing at me the other day when I went into some store like that in the UK reputable for selling super-cheap but nice looking wears. The person only wears designer clothes and was probably trying to make me feel inferior for going for unbranded stuff. I had to change it for him, be like, “Did you give me money for designer?”

I am often accused of being selfish to myself and I’m not saying everybody should be like me.

However, please don’t wear as designer clothes and bags the houses and businesses you’re meant to own. Don’t live in an area you cannot afford. Don’t eat at fancy restaurants if you cannot afford them.

There are only a few things that hurt me more than when I see my salary boldly written on a pair of shoes I like. But small sense and the voice of my dad in my head, saying, “Life is in stages and men are in phases” is what usually makes me walk away.

I can’t say I’ve totally learned these lessons myself and, in fact, I still spend money on senseless things at times, but it just really hurt me when my designer-wearing friend told me she was borrowing money to pay her rent.

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  1. Ada

    September 4, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    Well said. It’s better to wear cheap clothes and have savings/investments than be draped in designer stuff and broke! The bible says there is a time for everything.

  2. Tolu

    September 4, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    Keep that friend at arms length!

  3. bee

    September 4, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    This topic makes me shake my head as someone I used to be very close to does similar.
    A 40yr old, lives with his mom (pays part of the bills), can’t afford to live on his own or take good care of himself. He has traveled to all the islands around the US, and some European countries. He does so on credit card, just so he can put pics on Social media and tell people to act like his is rich since most ppl don’t know his reality.

  4. Nnenne

    September 4, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    More stupidity!!!

  5. Nnenne

    September 4, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    Mere stipidity!!

  6. Debbie

    September 4, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Well said.

  7. by_stander

    September 4, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    Which country did this happen? because i’m pretty sure you cant borrow money in that N20k minimum wage society to pay for food talkless of pay for designer wears.

    they have laws that makes it illegal to borrow or lend money, just incase you were not aware.

    So just thinking of how realistic this story is – unless that person is your family member i don’t think people generally loan out money in that society.

    And if on the highly improbable occasion they do, certainly not enough to buy designer wears ,cars etc as you claim. unless of cause i am mistaken, but this sounds very far fetched.

    However If you are talking about UK people are generally conservative meaning its odd to find people going around asking for or finding someone to loan money to them. reason being that they have financial instruments for that, namely credit cards and overdrafts.

    Whether or not its a good thing is left for the person using it since you are not them you cant make up their minds for them.

    Usually since people earn a living wage in the UK as a minimum, it should be possible to repay those debts unless they start to abuse these financial facilities or something out of the ordinary happens.

    If it does, i think people can still file for bankruptcy. in the UK

    So i really dont know the direction or the thinking behind this article – in the UK students are “loaned” money to pay school fees – people are “loaned” money to build./buy houses, cars etc

    And at any point when they can not pay they can file for bankruptcy!

    What exactly is your point in this article? because i’m tempted to go back to history and origins of money on this one.

    All these stupid slavery propaganda sef!

    • Arianna

      September 5, 2018 at 4:11 am


      I don’t whether you understood what the author wrote or maybe you just need someone to attack.
      No where in the article, did the author mention borrowing from the bank. If you really know a lot about borrowing culture in Nigeria, you would know that it is common for people to borrow from friends and family and you would also know that it can be difficult for these lenders to get their money back. You’re talking about slavery propaganda, yet you’re the one making a side-by-side comparison of Nigeria and UK borrowing, you even know more about the UK’s borrowing habits. So maybe go back, read the article again and talk to other Nigerians before you start playing keyboard warrior.

    • Fizzy

      September 6, 2018 at 1:06 am

      @by_stander, You sha want us to know you live in the UK. OK nau, we have heard. Biko what brand of Ganja do you smoke? I think it’s cheap and l do cheap sometimes too. Biko share. Nonsense and Rubbish. If you do not understand an article just STFU! It is not by force to comment. No one has ever filed bankrupt for not commenting.

  8. Omolola

    September 4, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    The mentality of people nowadays, you buy a 20m naira car and you are living in a rented apartment with loan o. Living above your means. I don’t get people these days

  9. butterfly

    September 5, 2018 at 8:54 am

    is it your loan?????

  10. Anonymous

    September 5, 2018 at 10:23 am

    Some people do not even borrow to buy designers. Some people do not borrow to buy anything we see them wear. Some people just do not know how to plan. While i understand that things can be very tough for some people, I am only referring here to people who i know that earn a decent salary, yet borrow every time it is time for rent, because they just do not know how to save, and do not know what they even spent their money on.

    I once asked someone who i know earns above two hundred thousand naira monthly, why he could not plan monthly for his yearly rent of six hundred thousand naira, by saving 50000# monthly. He said I knew nothing about how the world functions since i was living with my parents and had everything i needed.

    I moved out of my parents’ house to a place i had to pay 300,000 yearly, and was able to set aside 30,000 monthly for the year. When i told him to see how i was doing it after the second year, he said i knew nothing about how the world functions since i was living alone, with no responsibilities, therefore it was easy to remove as much as 30,000 monthly.

    Two years later, I got married, moved into my husband’s apartment, which then cost 550,000 yearly, and insisted we both put #50,000 monthly in any ratio (depending on who earned higher that month). This system was even cheaper because we both had to pay in averagely 25,000 each per month. We have a kid, saved and spent a lot to give birth to the baby, yet still not borrowing.

    While i understand that not everyone can afford to save, especially if you earn very little, (like below 100,000 monthly), If you earn a pretty modest amount monthly, I think you can plan better. Save Save once your salary comes, then you can spend what is left after saving. Move to a smaller apartment you can comfortable save for.

    Maybe I just do not understand this world yet! Maybe i am just too priviledged. Maybe!

    • Anonymous

      September 5, 2018 at 10:25 am


    • Anonymous

      September 5, 2018 at 1:20 pm

      I know you and you are not too privileged. Planning is the koko
      Although, to be fair to the person, it’s possible they have lots of responsibilities

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      September 6, 2018 at 12:20 am

      People need to learn how to stop accepting responsibilities they cannot shoulder. It’s not that difficult – outside your immediate family, if there’s any additional burden that you truly can’t afford, free it. Tell them you’re not in a good place to be their provider. Learn the power of “No”. You’re not Jesus and therefore cannot save yourself, speak less of others. Politely let those relatives and other would-be dependents understand why this is not an obligation you’re able to consider at the moment.

      Unless, you enjoy being a “big man” and reveling in the so-called respect of all the underlings asking for a hand to be extended to them. In which case, carry go, continue as you were.

      Stress is cutting short the lives of young husbands and fathers and we’re still here perpetuating a system of “brother J or uncle W will do all that needs to be done for the family”. When you’ve not finished building a trust fund for your children? If I hear.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      September 6, 2018 at 12:22 am

      And P.S, “immediate family” here means one man married to one woman with offspring. Sisters, mother, father and brother of your birthed family are NOT members of your immediate family, biko let them go as you cling to the one God has given you to nurture.

  11. Ife oladunjoye

    September 5, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Well said iyebiye..the truth is even when we earn millions, we might still in debt of not properly managed. Savings is good, investment is better. There are zero risks investment like treasury bills to put idle fund or the minimal fixed deposit. We should learn to acquire assets and not liabilities. I recommend smart money woman by Arese but even though I know all these I tend to overspend at times, just give myself a little treat ..we are all work in progress

  12. ebi

    September 11, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    great piece… it knocked some more common sense into my head. i hope it did so for others.

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