How Much of Your Salary Should You Save before 30?

| 5 min read
Your Account Balance at 30 - Spending money

The golden rule is that by age 30, the money you have saved should correspond to your annual salary. This gives you a very clear picture of how much you need to save. If you earn N180,000 monthly, by the time you are 30, you should have N2.1 million at the bare minimum.

This figure should include the money you have in your savings account as well as the money you have invested in business opportunities such as Forex, money market instruments and the stock exchange.

As difficult as this might sound to you right now, it is achievable. Let’s take a look at some strategies that will help you accomplish this goal by the time you are 30.

Your Account Balance at 30 - Invest


Cut Your Current Spending

If you are serious about setting aside a sizable portion of your salary, you need to cut out things you don’t need. To make this easier, split your accounts into different categories. Have a retirement account, an emergency account and expense account for your frequent use.

Your Account Balance at 30 - Cover

Start Saving Early

It is easier to save more by the time you are 30 if you start early. Let’s put this into perspective. If you start saving at 20 then you will have 10 years worth of savings by the time you are 30 as opposed to starting at 27? The earlier you start, the more money you get to save. You don’t have to save a large chunk of your salary every month. Set a realistic target of about 15% or more if you are comfortable.

If you earn N100,000 monthly and you save N15,000 monthly, this would be N180,000 at the end of the year and N1.8 million at the end of 10 years. In the course of time, you are likely to get a promotion/raise or change jobs and therefore, have the opportunity to save much more.

Your Account Balance at 30 - Saving Habit

Generate Another Source of Income

A quick way to save more is by creating another source of income. This could be a side hustle, an investment or a part-time job that doesn’t hurt your full-time job. This translates into additional income for you, which means you have more money at your disposal. For example, the fact that you have a 9-5 job does not mean you cannot be a merchant with a store on Nigerian e-commerce stores like Konga. Of course, you would have to delegate some but it can be done with careful planning. Other online opportunities open to you include affiliate marketing and specific aspects of digital marketing.

If you are interested in starting a business, you can take advantage of low-interest loans from a trusted Nigerian bank.

Don’t Compete or Compare

The fact that your colleague just bought an iPhone at Computer Village in Ikeja doesn’t mean this should suddenly become your priority. Your needs will remain insatiable as long as you remain human. Don’t rush off to buy trending fashion wear or accessories simply because you want to keep up with your friends. This will hurt your capacity to meet your saving target. Don’t waste money.

Your Account Balance at 30 - Automated saving

Automate Your Saving

Set up your account in an automated way that allows money to be transferred to your savings account on a monthly basis. This helps you overcome the trap of trying to save what is left of your monthly salary. The account that gets credited does not have to be a saving account. It could be an investment account like your money market account, a retirement account or a forex account that you trade with.

Your Account Balance at 30 - Food, transportation & accomodation

Focus on the Big Three Expenses

Three of your biggest expenses are your accommodation, food and transportation. Find a way to cut down on your daily and monthly spending on these big three expenses. If you spend a lot on transportation, consider leaving home slightly earlier than you currently do. If you live on the mainland and work in Ikoyi, Victoria Island or Lekki, use the BRT instead of boarding the yellow commercial buses.

If you own your own car, consider using public transportation on certain days of the week. “If you live around Costain and work between Marina and CMS, you are going to spend more if you decide to drive. It works for me,” explained Shirley Ajayi, who resides on the mainland.

If you live alone, you don’t necessarily need a huge apartment especially if you are looking to save especially if you’re yet to have children.

Don’t Blow the Extra Cash

You’re certain to have some extra cash come your way from time to time. Instead of spending this money on designer bags, a painting, suede shoes, leather wristwatches or a new phone, save it or invest it in a business or an asset.

The most efficient way to deposit it into your account immediately. The longer you keep it accessible, the higher your likelihood of spending the money.

With the average age of the Nigerian graduate pegged at 24, it is imperative that you start saving as early as possible especially if you are a Nigerian professional who still enjoys the luxury of living in your parents’ home.

One formula to work with is the 50/30/20 rule. Under this rule, you spend 50% of your salary on necessities, 30% should be spent on things that you consider discretionary while you save 20% of your salary or 15% at the bare minimum.

Samod Biobaku
A Nigeria-based writer and blogger who has written and edited for top brands including The SUN, Punch, Newswatch,, Bigsam Media, Nigerian Bulletin, Swish Interativ, Hello Nigeria, National LIFE, iCampus, Jobberman and Cheki.


    • Hello Donald,
      Thank you for your feedback.
      We advise that you follow the tips in the article such as “Generate Another Source of Income” or “Focus on the Big Three Expenses”.
      Following these will help you know exactly what to save at the end of each month.

  1. Good and educative write up. thou the system dose not give that much opportunity never the less we need to make use of what ever we earn to save.

  2. Good piece. However, considering the responsibilities of person that is married with children, does the 50/30/20 rule work?

    • Hi Itoro, the 50/30/20 rule works for most people but for couples who have children, there are 2 options to consider:
      1. A review of the formula considering the needs of the children and other pressing responsibilities.
      2. One of them (husband or wife) dedicates his/her earnings to saving for rainy days while the other party focuses on the immediate needs of the family.

  3. There is a lot to learn from the piece but it seems to have an ideal plot.

    A young man who starts earning 100,000 at age 20 and hits 1+ million by the time he hits 30.

    However, the truth is Nigeria/African social settings put so much pressure on a social earner unlike Europe/Americas where Families have been working and saving for generations and so most parents have a RSA unlike here where the children are their RSA. Hence financial responsibilities lay heavy on young men over here.

    Hence you see most children of well to do families able to chase their self development projects/aspirations compared to those with not-so-well-to-do finances and end up standing out as better qualified candidates

    However, it is always good to pick good habits and this article has lots of them.

    Thumbs up to the writer.

  4. Nice one brother, how i wish i can turn back the hands of time, well my younger ones will definitely benefit from this


  6. I have been able to decide via this post today to Generate other source of income and save adequately. Thanks 3much

  7. Hi. Such an insightful write up. Please I would like to know if it’s wise to save 70% of my monthly salary for the next 10month and then use it to buy a car .

    • Hi, it’s wise to save 70% of your monthly salary, however, you need to look at your needs rather than your wants.
      Cars are great, but you need to know if it’s your priority at the moment and if not, do focus on your urgencies. Thank you.

  8. Nice write up. But in as much as we need to cultivate the habit of saving, a good number of Nigerians are still searching for jobs at the age of 30 or probably still is school(part-time or full time) or don’t even have a 40 thousand naira salary. some either a parent or siblings or some relative are dependent on them. an average working Nigeria has nothing less than 2 persons dependent on him.its not like the western world where you mind your business and work for yourself alone till you decide to have a family.
    Even when you decide to save no matter how small, you’ll encounter one pressing need, unforeseen circumstances from you, a friend or relation that you can’t turn a blind eye or deaf ear. In a month some people don’t even spend one third of their salary on themselves. its either transport, accommodation, family, bills and the list goes on.

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