KZN gets pennywise ahead of festive season

Friday, November 19, 2010

Durban - With the merriment of the festive season often leading to reckless spending, KwaZulu-Natal is encouraging its citizens to get into financial shape to avoid slumping into more debt in the new year.

"We are urging people to spend carefully this festive season so they can afford to pay their expenses and focus on the obligations that await them at the beginning of 2011, such as school fees, transport to work, food and medical care, amongst others, and being careful about borrowing money," said KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC, Ina Cronje.

Cronje is partnering with municipalities in the province to promote her department's Financial Literacy Campaign. On Friday, she met with residents from Vryheid to encourage responsible spending.

"People need to be conscious of the need to save and ignore the sale signs as New Year obligations (wait). We are appealing to the people of KwaZulu-Natal to manage their finances and stay out of debt. Everyone must have a strategy in place before the expenses or temptations arise," the MEC said.

Cronje advised people to stay at home if they did not budget for a year-end holiday and to avoid borrowing money to pay for festive season expenses.

The department would like to see people drawing up budgets and sticking to them.

"Budget well ... by prioritising your expenditures, pay your bills on time, get out of debt as soon as possible, have a plan for emergencies, involve the family in all financial matters, be transparent about payment of the bills," said Cronje.

The Financial Literacy Campaign seeks to teach citizens about saving for rainy days and to buy goods, long-term investment for retirement and individual pensions.

Recent reports show that debt remains a deterrent to saving, with the average household countrywide spending 78.2 percent of their disposable income on debt repayments.