Bittersweet festive – responsible ‘splurging’

Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni delivered the 2019 medium-term budget speech, which left a bit of a bitter taste in our mouths. However as bitter as it may have been, it is the truth we needed to face in order to make the necessary changes in our daily lives and adapt to new ways of spending. 

We are a nation that loves life and everything good which comes with it. We spend, and unfortunately at times even to our own detriment as we spend more than we earn, which is one of the points our Finance Minister continues to emphasize. How then do we enjoy life, especially during the festive season without having to overspend and find ourselves in the usual corner of ‘Janu Avenue and Worry Street’? 

Throughout the year we have been working hard and it is during this time that we want to enjoy ourselves with our families without having to worry about our bank balances. This is when we start planning, which we aren’t crazy about because it is after all the festive season, we only want to have fun with no worries. To ease yourself into the festive season, set out a ‘splurging plan’ (the word ‘budget’ seems to intimidate a lot of us). Open a savings account where you could transfer some of your funds into, to either use for your splurging or to save for January. Getting into the new year debt free is something we should aim at. It alleviates the stress of the January responsibilities, therefore use your bonus/thirteenth cheque to set yourself free from the chains of debt. Don’t allow your debt to put so much of fear in you that you are too scared to scrutinize all your statements and credit reports. The same initiative you took to apply for that credit, take that same initiative to stay on top of your credit life and not letting anything fall through the cracks. 

When does the Credit Ombud help? 

Should your statement of account obtain any information which you would like to dispute, you may approach your credit provider and lodge your dispute with them. You will then allow them 20 working days to investigate and only after the 20 working days, should you either not get a response or aren’t satisfied with their outcome, you may contact the Credit Ombud to log your dispute with a reference number from the credit provider. A similar process applies when logging a dispute at the credit bureau. Once you have obtained your credit report and find that there is some information which you would like to dispute, you will contact the credit bureau and request 

to log a dispute. Upon logging your dispute, the bureau will provide to you a reference number and you will allow them 20 working days to investigate your dispute. After the 20 working days, should you not have received any feedback from them or you aren’t satisfied with their outcome, you may contact the Credit Ombud to log your dispute. 

Set time aside for yourself, where you will focus on your finances and to fix what needs to be fixed, as taking care of your finances is also part of self-care. Take charge, be in control and steer your finances in the direction that will allow you to build a future for yourself. Your income should be a steppingstone to a better life, so make those tough but necessary decisions and be disciplined. 

Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. – Ayn Rand 

Consumers can contact the office of the Credit Ombud for FREE assistance if they experience any issues relating to credit agreements with non-bank credit providers such as the clothing and furniture retailers as well as micro-lenders, fraudulent listings, emolument attachment orders (“garnishee orders”) or general complaints about their credit bureaux listings.

The office can be contacted on 0861 66 28 37; on the website; email us at or send a sms to 44786 and we will call you.