I had often told myself or boasted before friends that I would make enough money (something like ₦200,000) during my National Youth Service Corps, NYSC programme and use it afterwards to start a business. I also thought I would serve in Paradise (although I did, but in the Paradise State of Cross River) where I would get everything on a platter of gold and everything would work as planned.

I wasn’t wrong, though. It’s normal for someone making plans to daydream and have high expectations. Almost always, these rays of hope vanish before the actual journey or midway into it. I think there are some corps members who have experienced this. You would always think of driving your own car home, however rickety, to shame your enemies and to the admiration of family, friends and well-wishers, only for you to sell your belongings in order to raise your transport fare for journey back home at the end of your service year. This is sad but it’s the stark reality and indeed shameful and painful.

Many factors account for this ugly development.

The ₦19,800 (nineteen thousand eight hundred naira) federal monthly allowance of corps members is beggarly and of no value, considering the high rate of inflation in the country. It can barely sustain someone for a month. State governments do not even help matters. Some of them augment the federal allowance with as little as ₦3,000 (three thousand naira) or nothing.

Corps employers even add salt to injury. Some of them pay the same amount paid by their states while others owe monthly allowances that are partly or never offset at the end of the service year of a concerned corps member.

Despite all these, most corps members compound their woes. They are at best profligate and spendthrifts. They have no saving culture and don’t think about tomorrow.

Habits that drain your income

Corps members indulge in the following lifestyles and spending habits that leave them broke before the end of the month.

Clubbing: Some corps members go to clubs on a daily basis and fritter away their monthly allowances there.

Womanising: Some male corps members are promiscuous and are hardly at ease in a night without having sex. They go to nightclubs, hotels or brothels in search of women of easy virtues to take home or sleep with there.

Alcoholism: Some corps members are alcoholics and spend a greater part of their stipends on drinking alcohol.

Smoking: Yet, they are others who are chain smokers. They smoke continuously, by lighting one cigarette when they finish another. They smoke all sorts of cigarettes, and marijuana. Others take cocaine and similar substances. All these gulp money. I know guys who smoked a lot during my service year and would light a cigarette at every minute and alternate it with Indian hemp minutes later.

Eating out: There are corps members who hardly cook and would always eat out simply because of laziness or to flaunt their wealth.

Travelling: They are yet others who are great travellers. A month rarely passes without them embarking on unauthorised and useless long journeys. Some take flights during those travels while others charter taxicabs. Even a regular trip on a public transport consumes money.

Accommodation: There are still others that spend a huge chunk of their monthly earnings on renting expensive apartments.

Driving a private car: Some corps members bring their cars to their various Places of Primary Assignments, PPAs to show off. They pay out to fuel and maintain them.

Hotels: There are corps members that not only lodge in hotels but live there because they think they feel better and securer there.

Generating sets: We have a handful of corps members who buy and use generators during their service year, running them with the little money they receive at the end of the month.

Fast foods: Believe it or not, fast foods are a major income-drainer, be it noodles, cornflakes, oaths, sardines, chocolates, etcetera, especially where better, healthier alternatives are available. Many corps members, mainly females, are the most culprits. They take tea every morning or night or at both times. They eat bread with fried eggs and or margarine on a daily basis.

Cohabitation: Cohabitation or simply NYSC marriage is a common feature among some corps members. They enter into self-marriages and live as husbands and wives during the programme. The guy suffers most. He pays house rent singlehandedly, buys foodstuffs and provides money for the personal upkeep of the lady. I was privileged to follow the trend of NYSC couple during my service year when my next-door neighbour married a female corps member way back then. She was deployed in August and they normally disturbed me whenever they made love, especially at nights.

What all these kinds of dangerous and luxurious lifestyles do are that they always make you broke and a beggar all through your service year.

If there are other ways that corps members spend their money, do share them in the Comment section below.

In Part 2, I’ll share with you my experiences and time-tested tips on how you can save money during your NYSC programme and start your dream business.

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