by Theo Ubabunike
Disclaimer: This is not for the rich folks, or those who can afford to splurge on designer shoes and bags without sweating about money. This is for the average girl who doesn’t have a ‘Zaddy’ to send handsome monthly shopping allowances; the girl that hustles by herself and accumulates her pennies and pounds. This is for ladies who don’t want to spend a fortune, but still want to look good every time.
There’s one rule you have to obey: avoid impulse buying. This is really important. Nothing cracks your wallet faster, leaves you in debt and leaves you wondering where all your money went by the second week of the month as much as impulse-buying. So, when you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed and WhatsApp status and see the lovely dresses, shoes and weaves, do admire them and keep scrolling. Don’t DM, don’t ask “how much?” Don’t ask if it can be reserved for you till the end of the month, don’t make promises to purchase.
Whatever you do, keep that shopaholic in check and keep it moving. If it helps you, save the pictures and remind yourself that you will get them (just not right away).
Make a list
Sit down and imagine your style closet – what you need/ want, and the number of stuff you need. It could be something like this:
3 pairs of blue jeans
3-5 work dresses
5 shirts (for work)
2 dinner dresses (in red, blue or yellow)
2 solid pumps (one open toe)
1 black sandal, etc.
Put a Number Beside Every Item
Beside every item, place an average price for the stuff on your list. You can ask your friends who visit the market a lot and might help you out. If not, this might also be a good time to slide into the DMs of your WhatsApp and IG vendors to get the prices of the items you would like to acquire. Of course these prices fluctuate so you might want to add a few extra thousand bucks to your estimated prices like this:
3 pairs of blue jeans for 3,000 = 9, 000. Highest price could be 12,000 Naira.
Don’t be scared of how the numbers stack up. Sum up the figures and get the total amount.
Go Back To The Drawing Board
Armed with the list of things you want to get and their estimated prices, decide how much you want to spend on shop-venture. This is where you have to use your discretion. This decision, of course, would be based on a couple of factors such as your monthly income, bills and black taxes you need to pay, how much you want to set aside in emergency funds, savings and/or investments, and how much you need to comfortably get through the end of the month. Whatever you have left after these deductions will determine what next steps to take and the options you have.
On one hand, you can spread your list of things to purchase over a couple of months or throughout the year. So, every month, select an item(s) to strike of your list, this way, you get to give yourself a special treat every month. Alternatively, you can forgo the monthly shopping and simply set aside the excess monies every month in an account dedicated to shopping. You let it accumulate over a few months so that you have something substantial.
This second option requires a lot more discipline and apps like Cowrywise and Piggyvest can be useful in locking your funds for this purpose.
Figure Out Where To Shop
Ever heard the saying ‘na mumu dey go boutique’. Well, that is not entirely untrue. However, where you decide to shop will be determined by your preferences and the depth of your pockets. I know for a fact that there are so many vendors in Lagos who sell very affordable and quality pieces that cater to different tastes and classes. If you decide to go the market route, you have to figure out which market to go to. For most people, it’s a no-brainer: Balogun market is said to be the largest market in Nigeria and a lot of your boutique owners across Nigeria are rumored to shop here. I, for one, have a phobia for large markets, because not only do I get terrible headaches, I also tend to get lost. For a beginner, it’s easier to start with smaller markets and there are so many of these in Lagos. You can reach out to a friend, your mum or sibling that knows Lagos markets very well.
So, how do you shop? Please share your shopping experience and any helpful tips you might have.