July is known as National Savings Month in South Africa, aimed at encouraging people to save and spend money consciously. The Daily Vox spoke to Durbanites to find out how important saving is to them and how they do it.
Zethu Ngcobo, 25, consultant, Durban
I have been saving since high school using a piggy bank and it always worked wonders. It’s a matter of self discipline and acknowledging that saving money and budgeting is important. I wish I could save about 50% of my monthly salary but my expenses won’t allow me, but I’m happy that I’m saving what I can. I wish my parents had taught me to save from a very young age so that I could get used to it but I’m glad that I allowed myself to save from high school. Currently I’m saving for my driver’s licence and buying my mother a new fridge in December.
The KwaZulu-Natal Financial Literacy Trust is offering different financial programmes such as a Youth Focus Group, which is aimed at educating young people while they are still at school. The programme focuses on educating young children about saving by teaching them about needs and wants. It also provides commercial knowledge to senior learners by hosting an annual speech contest for commercial learners.
Andile Dube, 27, information officer, Durban
I only started saving when I started working. I love shopping and nice things so I don’t really get to save consistent amounts of money monthly. I would love to save more but my expenses aren’t always the same every month, so I save what I can. Somehow I wish I was as responsible as my grandmother; she was very good with money. She always encouraged me to use money wisely. I am currently saving because one never really knows what could happen the next day, and I have people who are dependent on me. I can’t save money under a mattress so I opened a savings account and that works wonders for me.
Shanice Pillay, 23, intern, Chatsworth
Saving money is important and should be taught to kids from a very young age. Although I didn’t start saving from a young age, I am glad that I’ve taught myself to save, even if it’s just 5% of my monthly salary. I started saving a few years back using a piggy bank that my mom bought me, and it worked because once I put the money in, I could only take it out by breaking the piggy bank. I wish I could save more but I have my own expenses and have to help at home with some things. It’s how I was brought up. With my savings I hope to buy myself a car a few years from now.
Sandile Mkhandawiri, 27, student, uMlazi
Money saving is one of the things that many parents are still failing to teach their kids, especially because some of them are also not saving. I get part time jobs sometimes and I don’t save a cent from that because I’m not familiar with saving. Most people often think that one has to have a lot of money in order to save, what we don’t know is that even if we save R5 a day that could make a difference. From now on I want to start saving the little that I have so that I will get used to it.
Financial experts say that, aside from income challenges, many South Africans are struggling to save due to lack of willpower and commitment. Acting CEO of the South African Savings Institute (SASI), Gerald Mwandiambira said that many people think that they are only living for the present, so they end up scrambling to save down the line. “Financial planning starts with being able to sacrifice for savings and investments because one’s future is important,” he said.
Ntobeko Ngcobo, 30, saleswoman, Durban
I only started saving about a year ago when I realised that my monthly expenditure was unreasonably high. I am now saving about 20% of my monthly salary and I’m proud of myself. I have kids so it’s only responsible to save so that they don’t have to suffer. Since I started saving I can see the difference on my budget and it’s helping my to do things within it. I am hoping to instill this kind of a discipline in my kids so that they can grow up responsible, especially when it comes to money. Saving saves you from unnecessary debts.