Mother’s Day is one of the days every year when SA moms are shown the appreciation and recognition they deserve. According to Vanesha Palani, Executive of Financial Management at Nedbank, while giving mom a card or some flowers is a great way to say thank you, most mothers in SA also need to gift themselves the opportunity to gain more control of their finances.
On average, South Africa’s mothers spend around 3.5 hours of every day performing unpaid household and childcare work, which can be overwhelming when added to the day-to-day career duties of working mothers. Which has around 40% of South African women feeling burnt out and 51% saying their stress levels are higher than they were a year ago.
For these reasons, Palani says that one of the most valuable gifts mothers can receive this Mother’s Day is assistance with gaining more control of their busy lives and guidance on how to manage their finances better.
A recent survey indicates that South African women are much more stressed about finances than many of their male counterparts, with key fears identified as running out of money before month-end (52%), paying off debt (36%), inflation and living costs (27%), and unexpected expenses (23%).
“It’s a growing area of concern, given the increasing number of woman-headed households,” Palani says, “but with appropriate guidance and support, SA mothers can take control of their finances, and get their spending and saving habits more stable.” As a starting point, she suggests seven basic rules of thumb for moms to get more of a grip on their money matters this Mother’s Day:
- Focus on what you can control. “A good first step is to list the things that are worrying you, and then identify those that you can control and change,” says Palani, “which is usually possible simply by sticking to a monthly budget and trying to save regularly, even if it’s only a small amount per month to begin with.”
- Track your progress. As the idiom says, the only way to eat an elephant is one mouthful at a time; and Palani emphasises that even seemingly overwhelming challenges can be overcome one step at a time, making steady, incremental progress.
- Find ways to monetise hobbies. Generating extra income is a great way to quell financial worries. While most mothers may feel they are too pressed for time to do anything in this area, Palani says it’s possible many are already doing things that they could turn into an income. “If you have a hobby, you could earn money from it,” she explains, “and keen bakers, quilters or needleworkers could find a ready market for their goods right in their own neighbourhoods.”
- Become a value accumulator. “The value-accumulator mindset is a great way to put extra money into your savings vehicles,” Palani points out. Value accumulation is a way of reorganising or consolidating the financial products you use to gain benefits or passive income. “Banks usually provide incentives in the form of loyalty programmes, cashbacks and vouchers,” she says, “and by consolidating your financial matters with one financial institution you can maximise that value.”
- Choose your savings products wisely. A related point is to find out what products your bank has that will help you. For example, Nedbank’s JustInvest is a great place to park savings, with a competitive interest rate of up to 8.25%, and the money is available with just 24 hours’ notice.
- Time is money, so try to save both. Digitisation has made it possible for anyone to manage their finances quickly and easily. Palani says that busy moms should make it a priority to use whatever digital tools their banks offer to save time – which they can then put into making more income via a side hustle – or just spend on themselves and their loved ones.
- Speak to an expert. Many women may find the sheer number of options and products available to them overwhelming. But Palani points out that help is always at hand. “A Nedbank consultant can help you to make good financial choices by clearly laying out the various banking and savings options tailored to your financial journey so that an informed decision can be made,” she says.
“While every mom loves getting flowers and cards on her special day, the best gift you can receive this Mother’s Day is one you can give yourself,” Palani concludes, “because taking control of your money really is the gift that keeps on giving and taking those first steps this May could be the beginning of an exciting new way of living your best financial life.”