Those just managing to get by
after completing her daily tasks, she would let a single block of chocolate melt on her tongue. Then put the rest back in the drawer next to her bed, tucked away safely under her winter pyjamas.
Ouma didn’t believe in receiving credit unnecessarily. “If you don’t have, you go without,” she would Though this was a want more than a need, Ouma bought it on credit. Over the next couple of years she diligently paid it off with a couple of hundred rand each month.
I don’t want to know how much she eventually forked out for the new furniture. Needless to say, she paid a lot more for it over time than it was worth.
Poverty charges interest. A tweet by singer and actor Tay Zonday sums it up perfectly: “Being poor now just leads to being more poor later. Can’t pay to have your teeth cleaned? Next year pay for root canal treatment. Can’t pay for a new mattress? Next year pay for back surgery. Can’t pay to get that lump checked out? Next year pay for stage 3 cancer.”
July is practically over and with it South Africa’s National Savings Month. Saving is a habit that many of us are yet to acquire and since the cost of living is growing at a rapid pace, much faster than most salaries, it’s even more difficult to stretch our earnings and save for the future.
This year’s theme, “Employer Assisted Savings”, encourages employees in our country to save with the help of their employers.
We need all the help we can get. Yet, employers and employees often live different lives and occupy different spaces.
I’m not saying CEOs should skip their 5am spinning classes to queue for a taxi or wait for a delayed train. I’m also not saying that they should forgo their medical aid and spend half a day waiting to be helped at a public health care facility.
But I do think employers often have a lack of empathy for their employees and, especially when it comes to poorly paid workers, understanding of their lived experiences. How are you, the
‘Can’t pay to have your teeth cleaned? Next year pay for root canal treatment’
employer, going to encourage me to save if you have no grasp and understanding of how I, the employee, live my life and stretch my money?
Perhaps employers should talk about dignified wages before dishing out savings advice.