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Financial literacy in South Africa. Why is it so important to learn about cash management? 

Cash management skills are critical for survival in this ever-changing and cost-increasing world. The extent of your financial literacy can make or break you, your family or your business if you’re an entrepreneur. To make things more complicated, neh, we’re supposed to navigate these things from these new ‘smart devices’ which are sometimes so smart, we’d rather leave them alone.

Heita, you are South African and know what we’re talking about — most of the time you are on the phone with your parents it’s because you are helping them connect to the WiFi, print something wirelessly, send a new file type over instant messaging. The list is endless!

But you know, there’s an opportunity for us all here, to learn to manage your cash and build the financial structures that will support us toward the exact kind of life we all want to live. Mzansi knows how to party but it’s time to get serious about making that moola work for us, too. That’s why you’re here right now: to learn to make better choices about your money. So, let’s go!

Firstly, what is cash management in the flesh?

Cash handling is important. You would think it’s obvious but, remember, not everyone is lucky enough to be taught about cash management as they grow up. Let’s use this opportunity to set the record straight: ‘cash management’ is the way that you make decisions about cash in your control. It could be your cash, client’s funds if you work in investment banking, cash of your business, the stokvel or lottery from the neighbours: it doesn’t matter who it belongs to, but the way you handle it is your distinct and unique cash management style.

What about habits?

You get your cash management habits mostly from what you watched your folks doing, as you grew up. If you watched and helped your parents divide uBaba’s weekly wages out over the kitchen table, you’ll think differently about cash in your care compared with someone who was excluded from all discussions about cash in their household as they grew up. Managing cash can be scary — we get it — but it’s important that you know this is your business and responsibility so that you can give yourself a solid chance to enjoy the best that life has to offer.

Some of the things that can happen when you know a thing or two about cash management

South African people are caught between two very extreme and opposite lifestyles. There are the mega-rich people and sadly still too many of the destitute, who are just trying to survive from one day to the next. There are stories of people rising up, and of people falling from wealth.

If you know how to manage money, you are on your track to avoid catastrophes like having your house or car repossessed; you can enjoy holidays and eat out with your friends; you can buy your favourite branded items, pay school fees on time and avoid being swallowed up by debt.

This is all possible if you learn to handle your cash with respect, with discipline and with great care, or, shortly, manage your money like a grown up. It's your business.

What’s the opposite?

If you don’t learn to manage money carefully, it’s a slippery slope, folks. You start small, making poor choices about it being ‘just one packet of chips’ or ‘just this weekend’. Before you know it, your car needs new tyres or someone in the house gets sick and there’s no money left to sort out the essentials.

Worse yet: your little siblings or your kids face suspension from school if you don’t pay those fees on time. You don’t have enough for those debit orders and yet the bank still charges you because there are insufficient funds in the account, so now your insurance and medical aid are at risk if you’re lucky enough to have those subscriptions in place.

There’s no money to fix a leaking roof or a broken window, and so we break out the bin bags, stones, tape and whatever else we can get our hands on, to insulate a cold cinder block house or a shack. Are there any cash solutions?

South Africa, the only way we’re going to make things better is by taking our money management into our own hands. Cash handling is important. WOZA!

The link between financial literacy and cash management

Our country’s sophisticated financial services system doesn’t actually benefit everyone. To be precise, when you need R5 airtime, you’re not going to smile and pay a R2 transaction fee, however, you’re buying it. Naturally, this means we still rely on cash quite a lot, and that comes with obvious risks of theft. In the country, the sad reality is that your life is on the line when you transact in cash only. Remember, always be cautious when having cash on you.

If you own a smartphone, you have data challenges. The price of mobile data on your device in South Africa, while it has been reduced, is still too expensive for the average person to indulge in connectivity every day. There’s also the fact that we have these shiny smart devices that nobody’s really teaching us how we should use them. When you have to mentally climb Table Mountain every day just to send R20 to Vuyo to buy you bread on the way home from work, it’s a problem. It’s why people still choose to transact in cash, despite having tools to do things differently.

Where can you learn how to use your mobile phone properly and find the right cash app?

It’s not easy to find a class or course for this like you can for computers, but these days you can Google just about anything. Keep your eyes glued to our social media channels for more useful tips on how you can use features like wifi connection, mobile data management and messages to help you make the most of the money management journey you’ll embark on with Glow App. Cash solutions and cash management is one of our priorities.

It’s okay to ask for help on cash management solutions

One of the most important things to our team, from the moment of inception, has been to invest in learning about and responding to what it is that you really need. While we’re building our first version, you can read more about the exciting features that are being included, like multilingual support. You might be reading this in one language, like English, but the people who depend on you to send them money might prefer speaking different languages.

South Africa’s most commonly spoken language is isiZulu, so we’re making Support available in native isiZulu to help you and those you transact with better understand the power of Glow App.

Our first cash management tips

First of all, cash handling starts with saving. If you are opening a first-time account or you want to start your business, always check the costs first. Are there any costs for account opening? Are there any monthly upkeep costs? Is there a reason to waste a few hundred rands per year just to have some account open?

Second, if you are opening a bank account, check the transactional costs. Again, you don't need to waste any cash on something you can always get cheaper.

Third, track your spending. Sometimes we get lost in our cash handling, especially when we are doing it actually in cash. When you are using digital cash solutions, you can always track how much of money you have spent in the past and adapt to your budget.

We make the Glow app in a way, so it could help you address all those matters.

Sign up for early access to the Glow app beta programme and be the first to witness #Glowesome



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