By Francis Ewherido
Increasingly, a lot of  young men are entering their late 30s and early 40 and are still single. One of the reasons for the delay, according to them, is “lack of finance.”

When I ask how money constitutes a hindrance, I often get vague responses. I feel there are only two money-related criteria eligible bachelors should meet before getting married.

One, you must have a roof over your head that you can call your own, built or rented. I do not think it is proper for a “squatter” to get married and inconvenience his benevolent host further. That is handshake going beyond the elbow.

Moreover married people, especially newlywed, need privacy. Whether the accommodation is a single room, room and parlour, flat, wing of a duplex or detached house is secondary. Just have somewhere you can call your own.

Two, you should have a source of livelihood. You cannot be on financial life support (financially dependent) and get married thereby increasing the burden on your benefactor with an extra mouth. That is immoral and inconsiderate.

The minimum requirement is that you should have money to feed, clothe and meet other basic needs of yourself and your new wife before getting married.

Once these two criteria are met you have no business being single when there is a spouse in-waiting.

I have always explained it to my marriage class participants, and I will try to do it here, how you can get married on a shoestring budget.

Budget— you should have a budget in place for your wedding and be fiscally disciplined to stick to it.

A budget here will be a plan on how you intend to spend money over a period of time for your wedding. Your budget will include income and expenditure sections.

Your income section will include cash at hand as well as money you are assured of getting between the time you drew your budget and your wedding day. Such assured income includes salaries and/or income from your business based on previous projections, rents and other investments.

Excluded are promises from the family members, friends and colleagues because such money is not yet in your possession, so you do not have control over it.

You can therefore not budget on such promised fund until you are in possession of it. To get your expenditure profile all you need to do is list all the items you will spend money on and attach a figure to each one.

When you are through compare with your income segment; if they are equal or near equal sum, you have a balanced budget, but if expenditure outstrips income you have a deficit budget. In this case you need to adjust your expenditure because it is not proper to start married life on a financial deficit..

Prioritise—Earlier, I said you should list all the items you need to spend money on. Do not just list them, list them in order of priority; that is, start with the most important item and end with the least important item.

The benefit of prioritising is that even if you run out of cash along the line, you would have taken care of the most important items. Over time in my class we have agreed that the ring is the most important item because, you must exchange rings (Some churches exchange bibles instead of rings).

So imagine that you did not prioritise and just went out spending as the items came to your mind. Then a day or two to your wedding you run out of cash, yet you have not bought your rings. Monumental chaos!

I once attended a wedding where the presiding pastor advised young ladies never to accept a “Jankara” rings from their fiancé because of the significance and symbolism of the ring.

Well I agree with the pastor, but would-be couples should not use that as an excuse to delay their wedding or engage in unnecessary extravagance. So just get good rings. You can get better ones later when your finances improve.

Borrowing—Wedding is a not a business, so you should not borrow to prosecute it. You must work within available income. I am not aware of any church that collects money before solemnizing unions between husbands and wives.

Even if some churches do, it must be nominal, so there is no justifiable reason to borrow.  Borrowing leads to starting your marriage on a financial deficit which is not good, as we said earlier.

Some people borrow with the hope that the money they will “spray” (this is illegal) them during the wedding reception will be used to offset the debts.

Often they find out to their chagrin that the proceeds are far below expectations. I did a little study some time ago when “spraying” was legal and found out that spraying at weddings was like the statistical bell shaped curve.

Majority of newlywed realise between N20,000 and N50,000; a  few get below N20,000 and  even fewer above  N50,000.

Do not be deceived when you see the whole floor filled with money. Most of them are N20 and N50 notes which come to little when counted.

Now that spraying has been declared illegal, a lot of people are reluctant to spray at weddings, and will not put the money in an envelope and quietly give it to the couple. If they do, one of the reasons for spraying, which is to show off, will be


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