It’s not only about the national budget
That new smartphone has such amazing features. How did you ever live without a 12 megapixel camera? Can you really move forward without a 25% brighter screen? You don’t just want it, you need it right? And you’ll happily pay the extra R399 a month to get it. And everyone will think you’re super cool and successful.
In a world of instant gratification, easy access to credit and sky high credit limits, this is a common scenario. Way more common, in fact, than someone saying ‘Nah I’m cool with my existing phone, thanks service provider’. Most of us don’t stop to ask if we can really afford it. Many of us don’t have a good enough view of our finances to know if we have a spare R399 lying around to allocate to a better phone.
In a bid to galvanise more South Africans to start budgeting, Sanlam launched ‘Family Budget Week’ (6-10 March). Timed for soon after the National Budget Speech – while the concept and importance of budgeting is top of mind – the initiative uses a range of tools, including very simple budgeting steps and a partnership with comedian Tumi Morake, to galvanise South Africans to take charge of their finances.
The importance of budgeting is hard to miss. The country has a budget, every business, school, church, shop and NGO has a budget. All these organisations budget so they can pay the bills while at the same time thriving and meeting their goals. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for individuals and households. We seem reluctant to budget. Maybe because we are afraid that budgeting will expose our debt and extravagance and curb our lifestyle. Maybe because we have a ‘top down’ view of our money, meaning that we only look at what we earn rather than how much we have once our expenses are paid – so we feel well off even when the bank says otherwise.