The stress of everyday life is evident in many South African women’s lives. They face daily home-to-work-and-back runs, problem-solving from 7am to 10pm, managing households, family, and work life, and other unending tasks…

Not to mention the financial responsibilities! In some cases, having more month at the end of their money.

Can you relate to these day-to-day situations? If so, how do you say NO to continuous worries, especially those financial or debt-related ones and, say YES to your own ‘financial happiness’ instead?

“I feel that women deal with many fiscal responsibilities on a regular basis and good financial management, also known as achieving ‘financial happiness’, is not as easy as one, two, three these days BUT it is indeed possible,” says Carla Oberholzer (debt adviser at DebtSafe).

What challenges do women face?

The following ‘statistical glimpse’ of the challenges that many mid-20- to mid-40-year-old women currently experience, can give you an idea of what financial worries can do to YOUR overall health, and that you should rather try and say NO to if you see or are used to the same trend:

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  • According to the June 2019 stats from DebtSafe’s FINANCIAL REALITY survey, 56% (of the 25 to 44-year-old female respondents), indicated that their expenses were more than their income.
  • Twenty-eight percent (of the women related to this age category) said that they used 20-40% of their take-home pay on their dependents and a total of 26% stated they spent between 40-60%.
  • Typical expenses for these women included phone/data costs (61%), life insurance/funeral cover investments (54%) and costs for education/studies (44%).
  • Sixty percent highlighted that financial stress was a dominant influencer of their overall stress levels and 41% indicated that it impacted their sleep patterns.
  • Their biggest financial worry they experienced was that their income did not keep up with inflation (24%).
  • And lastly, a total of 64% said they have debt due to the tough economic times they found themselves in, and a total of 48% said they were not up to date with their debt payments (mostly related to retail credit and/or loans).

So, now what?

What are those YES checkboxes, that you should tick to achieve ‘financial happiness’ instead? And, what can you do when your situation and the current reality out there (relating to you and other women) might be emotionally, mentally and physically stressful?

Here are three HOW TO SAY YES TO ‘FINANCIAL HAPPINESS’ tips as suggested by Carla:

  1. Only say YES to credit when it is absolutely necessary to do so, for example, during an unforeseen emergency.
  2. Say YES to a personal budget and make sure that you know what it entails – in other words, be aware of your overall financial picture.
  3. Say YES to boosting your income (convert skills or hobbies to cash) and YES to getting rid of excessive debt (by slowly starting to pay off one debt at a time). If, however, you are already finding yourself in nerve-racking circumstances or having sleepless nights about some serious debt damage, you need to fix your situation in a sustainable manner. Give the National Credit Regulator a call to see if debt counselling/review would indeed be a feasible option to consider.

It is important to take care of your mental, emotional and physical health. Financial stress can affect one, two or all three of these ‘health areas’ of yours. You, therefore, have to try and deliberately manage your finances well, dodge excessive debt, and in the end, avoid the stress that goes along with debt’s problems. What about saying YES to future ‘financial happiness’ and a big NO to those unwanted current debt worries…

Take a look at DebtSafe’s latest ‘DEBT REALITY’ VIDEO:

***A4W: exclusive article