Update: What our Money Makeover candidates are feeling two months in

2018-12-14 16:41
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We are already two months into this year's Absa/City Press Money Makeover campaign and our candidates are already feeling and seeing the benefits in their pockets. We asked our candidates to update us on how they were feeling two months into the campaign.

Samke - At the start of her career

When the City Press team met Samke at the start of the competition she was nervous, mainly for the on-camera interview, but also because she had been forced to look at her financial situation with a more than just a passing glance.

Samke is at the start of her career and has come to terms with the fact that some of her previous financial decisions were mistakes. Her priority was to rectify some of those mistakes and learn from them. 

Together with her financial adviser Steve, she drafted a budget and has been sticking to it religiously, even turning away that one friend who “always asked for money”. She’s also started to have the difficult money conversations with her family, explaining to them how much they will be able to rely on her financially. 

READ: Is your money working for you?

Samke’s dream has been to buy her first car, but because of the debts she has accumulated, she has never felt like her income could sustain such a purchase. However, Steve has suggested that she create a savings fund for this and, even though her focus is on paying off her debts first, there is no reason why she should not start saving a little bit every month towards her dream. 

Two months into the Money Makeover campaign and Samke feels like she has her life back. “I am happier and more at peace,” a much more confident and bubblier Samke tells us in her update video below.

Nkosi - Just trying to make ends meet

When City Press met Nkosi in Pretoria we were immediately evacuated from the Absa branch we had scheduled to meet in because the building was filled with smoke.

“It’s similar to my finances,” Nkosi joked as calm was finally restored. 

Now in her 40s, Nkosi has a 24-year-old son and an 18-year-old niece who are dependent on her income. Having never compiled a budget, all Nkosi knew about her finances was the monthly debit order notifications she got. 

READ: What you need in your financial plan

With the help of her financial adviser, Funi, Nkosi drew up a budget and immediately realised that she spent way too much on petrol and shopping expeditions. She also adjusted her cellphone bill and her insurance contract, after realising that she was “throwing money away” on unnecessary policies. 

Nkosi’s dream is to run her property portfolio successfully enough to live off that income, but at the moment she is still paying off the loans she took to acquire those properties. After a proper analysis of her financial situation with Funi, Nkosi has a plan to get herself out of financial distress.

Two months in and Nkosi is already feeling a lot lighter as her financial strain has decreased because of proper financial planning. Find out more in her 30-second update below.

Amanda - A single mother of three

City Press met Amanda on a crisp morning in Paarl, where the clouds unwrap like a table cloth across the mountains that engulf the town. As a single mother of three, Amanda’s mornings are usually quite busy, she tells us – acknowledging that her main financial goal after her husband’s untimely passing was to make sure her children want for nothing. 

As an accountant one would assume Amanda’s finances were in ordered and categorised, but she says that she is more “like an ostrich with my head in the sand” when it comes to her personal finances. 

“I don’t think that I am spending my salary correctly on the stuff that matters, so I would appreciate some guidance,” Amanda mentioned before the campaign got under way. 

READ: How to avoid the debt spiral

The first thing her adviser, Riette, asked Amanda to do was to reevaluate all her policies and expense contracts. This proved to be a useful saving exercise because Amanda realised she was paying more than she needed to on her banking fees and her insurance. Riette and Amanda immediately changed her banking plan and consolidated her insurance, bolstering her monthly budget allocation. 

Two months in to the campaign, Amanda is feeling relieved and at ease because she finally feels in control of her finances. With the help of her adviser Riette, Amanda knows exactly where her money is going and is working towards her goal of financial freedom. 

Tasmin - The freelancer

As Tamsin chatted to us before the money makeover campaign, a sense of nervousness and trepidation joined us in the room. 2018 had been one of those off-periods for most freelancers in the film industry and Tamsin, as part of that workforce, has seen a decline in her main source of income. This has spurred on her desire to find alternative and more regular income streams. 

In an effort to supplement her income, Tamsin singed up with AirBnB and began growing her web design business. Her adviser, Leighanne, suggested that while these new income streams are still developing, Tamsin should reach a goal of depositing 10% of all her income into a money market account to help with the lean months. 

READ: How to create a debt repayment plan

By trying to cut down on her spending and make her money work for her, Tamsin has been looking at the cheaper options of almost everything she buys while also discarding her vitality membership and being more cognisant of her cellphone costs. 

Tamsin’s relationship with money has improved considerably in the first two months of the campaign, she now has a clear idea of what her budget entails and has made sure to separate her business and personal finances. This has all made Tamsin feel secure about her finances.

Thuli - The overspender

When we met Thuli and her adviser, Leola, in Pretoria they had just been going over Thuli’s finances again and catching up on goals they had set. When Thuli spoke about her finances, you could see from the glint in her eye that there was a steely determination to improve her overall financial wellbeing. 

Despite earning a relatively good salary, Thuli is still finds herself in a lot of debt, and after 30 years of work she finds herself in a position where there's with not a lot to show for it. While evaluating her financial statements with Leola, Thuli realised that she was using her credit cards willy-nilly. Identifying this as a potential risk to her financial independence, Thuli has committed to leave the credit cards at home and budget for what she needs. 

READ: Planning for next year's expenses

Medical bills and education fees have also put a strain on Thuli’s financial wellbeing, adding to her mounting debt. With the help of Leola, Thuli is finding more ways to be reduce her debt and build her wealth. 

Two months into the money makeover campaign, Thuli can see the light at the end of the tunnel. She now has a concrete plan to combat the debt, has put measures in place to not acquire more debt unnecessarily and is developing habits to stay out of debt.

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