(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Women are battling to contain expenses - TymeBank

By Supplied Time of article published Aug 12, 2019

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South African women are struggling to make ends meet, with 81 percent of them running out of money before the end of the month (versus 72 percent of males).

This despite the fact that they are also more likely to draw up and stick to a budget, particularly if they are between 25 and 45 years old (80 percent). This is according to TymeBank’s “More month than money” survey.

“The financial reality for most women is that their money doesn't last the month; 59 percent of them run out by the 15th,” says TymeBank chief executive Tauriq Keraan.

So what’s going on? The reality is that women have more mouths to feed than just their own; they often take care of children and of other family members. Compounding this issue is the fact that many mothers are single, with the issue of absent fathers on the rise. They also earn on average 28 percent less than men, making it clear that women have a far heavier financial burden to bear.

To make ends meet, according to a 2018 DebtBusters study, more women turn to unsecured credit than men (71 percent vs 55 percent) and are using personal loans, payday loans and credit cards as a financial buffer.

To help relieve this dependency on debt and regain control of their finances, Keraan suggests that women think about clever ways to cut back on their monthly expenditure, particularly when it comes to the “big three” financial priorities: housing, groceries and transport. “The study revealed that the lion's share of our money goes towards these three areas (41 percent pay for their housing first, followed by 24 percent for groceries and 10 percent for transport), so finding ways to reduce costs in these areas can make a significant difference. That said, we should also not overlook the small things: cutting back on bank fees for instance can save a pretty penny.”

Changing our financial behaviour is certainly one way to curb costs. But, according to Sam Beckbessinger, best-selling personal finance author and entrepreneur, women also need to teach girls about money from a young age. “Finances can't be seen as a man's problem. We need to teach girls to be financially literate as they will need these skills later on in life when the inevitable financial responsibility falls on to their shoulders.”

She says that one such skill is “enveloping”. This is where a savings pocket is opened up in a bank account and into which small amounts of money are deposited as regularly as possible. Over time, small increments can add up to a large amount.

“This is such a handy tool to use, especially when it comes to saving up for high-expense times of the year such as the festive season, back-to-school or when you might need to buy extra warm clothes during winter, for instance."

Research points to the fact that many families are headed up by a single mother which highlights the extra lengths women need to go to make their money last. 


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