For a lot of young Ghanaians, the very first time they are actually paid for a job done is when they receive their allowance during the mandatory one year of national service, immediately after completing any form of tertiary education.
Though it is not a salary, in many instances, it is indeed the very first income earned from a job done. This comes after years of completing one level of education to the other.
From the Junior High School to the Senior High School and then to the tertiary. All through that has been living off mum and dad for certain people.
This means National Service is the big boy or big girl moment for most young people and some try to savour it for what it’s worth.
Some also finally get a chance to make financial decisions on their own hard-earned money and sometimes that decision is to splurge.
Now, don’t get us wrong here… we know that the very basic definition of the word ‘splurge’ is ‘to spend money freely or extravagantly.’ This definition in no way do justice to the very questionable National Service persons are paid, however, however, spending any part of that meagre allowance on anything that gives you a little pleasure, even if it’s buying ice cream for GHS 5 can be considered as a ‘splurge’ in our books.
As part of our documentation of the life lived by Ghanaians doing their National Service, we spoke with 10 people who have already done their service to find out what they splurged (word used with extreme caution) their allowance on.
I don’t think I splurged. I used it for transportation to work. My transportation to work was GHS 400 a month and I was given GHS 600 as NSS allowance. I also paid GHS 100 as tithe. Then miscellaneous which means I could buy food on certain days. Maybe that’s the splurging
I didn’t have a lot of office wear. After my new boss kept complaining which I became tired of hearing, I used my first NSS allowance to buy myself some office clothes. I wasn’t happy spending all that money but I did feel good wearing the clothes though.
National Service was very helpful but I didn’t spend on guilty pleasures. Instead, I saved part of my allowance and bought a camera and a laptop.
I saved up to buy a phone. It was the first time I was buying a phone for myself and I was very proud of myself.
I splurged on acquiring a skill, instead of food or experience or fashion. I saved some of my allowances to pay for my driving school lessons.
I was sent out of my home region for NSS. I couldn’t make friends so I saved up and bought a second hand PlayStation and my parents gifted me small TV.
I gave myself a real treat. After I received my first NSS allowance, I took myself on a dinner date in a fancy restaurant. I enjoyed the food and I was glad that I gave myself a treat from the money I had earned.
I love sneakers and I always got hooked up at Kantamanto. However, with my NSS, I got a new one from one of the Instagram vendors. About four months later, it was stolen when I was drying it. I guess I didn’t know the neighbourhood that well.
I splurged and bought myself a desk to create a small workstation at home. I spent all the money on the desk that I didn’t have enough to buy a chair. As a result, I couldn’t use the table for a while until I was able to buy a chair.
I got myself a girl’s second favourite thing – a new make-up set. I really improved my glow up game right in the middle of my NSS. I must confess though, there were days I regretted it but my glow up game was on point so I still won anyway.
We know the NSS allowance is no money but what guilty pleasure did you spend your NSS allowance on? If you are yet to do your service, what guilty pleasures are you planning to spend your allowance on?
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