Best Lagos Survival and Hustle Tips (Guide)

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Lagos Survival and Hustle Tips

Living in Lagos comes with its own unique set of challenges due to the bustling energy and fast-paced lifestyle of the city. Juggling the high cost of rent, transportation, and necessities while still having money left to live can be a struggle, especially for newcomers. However, Lagosians have devised practical survival and hustle tips over time to not just stay afloat but also thrive financially despite the odds. In this comprehensive guide, we will share the most effective survival strategies for locals as well as practical money-making hacks or side hustles to supplement your income that have helped Lagosians survive for years.

The Key to Survival: Cut Your Coat According to Your Size

One of the most important maxims for surviving in Lagos is to cut your clothes according to your size – meaning live within your means. Avoid lifestyle inflation at all costs and focus only on essential expenses. Some practical ways to do this include:

  • Live close to your workplace to cut down on expensive transportation costs
  • Consider house-sharing to reduce rent costs in desirable areas
  • Cook at home instead of eating out frequently to save on meals
  • Buy only what you need and avoid unnecessary spends
  • Cut down expenses on alcohol, cigarettes, and partying
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Being frugal is key to surviving the fast-paced life of Lagos on a tight budget until you can improve your financial means. Sticking to a budget tailored to your income is the number one survival tip.

Make the Most of Your Skills Through Side Hustles

While keeping expenses low is important, the next vital tip is having a side hustle or multiple streams of income. Some of the most popular money-making side hustles for Lagosians include:

Freelance Writing

If you have strong writing skills, offer your services for content writing, ghostwriting, blogging, etc. Major platforms like SmartCopy, AngloLink, and many more offer online writing gigs.

Social Media Management

Help businesses and influencers manage their social media engagement through community building, content curation, and marketing on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.


Private tutoring for subjects like English, Math, and Sciences is always in demand. Use platforms like MyTutor to find students and fix your hourly rates.

Graphic Design

Use your design skills to create logos, brochures, flyers, and other visual content for businesses through sites like Fiverr.


Driving for Uber, Bolt helps you earn money on your schedule for a comfortable income.

Having multiple side incomes tailored to your skills helps improve your finances exponentially in Lagos. Combining side hustles with prudent spending is the best survival tip.

Best Ways to Save Money in Lagos

Once you’ve controlled expenses and added side incomes, focus on maximizing savings through these tactics:

  • Open savings accounts in different banks and set automated transfers to discipline savings
  • Cook all your meals and drastically cut spending on eating out
  • Renegotiate bills like data plans, and TV subscriptions, eliminate discretionary costs
  • Shop for groceries and essentials wholesale from places like Idumota
  • Save transport costs by owning a motorcycle or pocket-friendly car
  • Visit cheap roadside mechanics instead of autoriksha shops for repairs
  • Cash in on discounts by shopping during sales periods
  • Save on utilities by using energy-efficient devices and solar systems
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Consistent savings, no matter how small, is important to build a cushion and stay financially secure in unpredictable Lagos. Multiple money-saving techniques ensure better Survival.

Daily Survival Tools for any Lagosian

Other than financial practices, having the right tools makes city life a lot easier:

  • Power bank: Constant power is needed due to poor electricity
  • Umbrella: You never know when it will rain!
  • First aid kit: For minor emergencies amidst the chaos
  • Strong bag: Carry your laptop, files, snacks and more daily
  • Earphones: Drown noise on public transport
  • Water bottle: Stay hydrated outdoors despite lack of clean water
  • Weather app: Check the weather to avoid sudden downpours
  • Maps app: Navigate busy routes and alternative routes
  • Noise-cancelling headphones: Focus better in public areas
  • Mositurizer: Protect skin from harsh weather and pollution

Having these survival tools further aids the daily navigation of the busy city of Lagos.


How can I afford rent in Lagos on a low income?

Consider house sharing, live further from the city center, negotiate rent down, or rent a room in a shared apartment. You may also consider staying with family or in hostels to save on rent.

What are some frugal meal ideas for Lagos?

Cook rice, beans, plantains, potatoes, yams, and groundnut soup at home. Shop at local markets for cheaper foods. Meal plan for the week to avoid wastage.

How can I learn side hustle skills without formal education?

Learn through online courses, tutorials, internships, partnerships, and a lot of self-study and practice. Focus on skills like content writing, social media management, graphic design, etc.

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What if my side business is not making money?

Evaluate if there’s a market need, rework your offer, adapt to trends, improve skills/service, track analytics, consider a business partner, or explore a new idea. Don’t lose hope.

As a student, how can I survive in Lagos?

Get campus jobs, and small part-time gigs, look for assistance programs, live frugally, apply for grants/scholarships, learn side skills, and focus on your education/career goal. Surviving as a student needs determination.


As one of the most populous cities in Africa, Lagos will always demand resilience from its residents. However, by practicing pragmatic Survival and Hustle Tips regarding lifestyle, finances, skills, and mental preparation, survival is guaranteed. Focus on low-cost housing, prudent budgeting, multiple streams of income, and discipline with savings, while maintaining positivity. Adaptability is key to not just subsisting, but truly thriving in this great metropolis. With the right outlook, even limited resources won’t stop you from making the most out of expensive Lagos.


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