I’ve wrestled with whether or not to write this post because it’s a subject that makes people feel uncomfortable and some a little ashamed. I personally don’t think it’s something to be ashamed about but I get that it makes us uncomfortable.
Can we talk about the uncomfortable subject of personal finance? I’ve wrestled with a decision that has broken my heart recently. Both my husband and I have had to sit down and have a long hard look at our finances to find ways to cut back on our spending.
We’re not alone!
I did a short poll on Instastories yesterday, asking if any others had also felt that the cost of living had increased exponentially over the past few months and here are the results:
This tells me that the average South African is struggling. And if it’s tough for us, can you imagine what that struggle must be like for the poor?
My little lament over on Instastories yesterday was very #firstworldproblems. Really, I am self aware enough to realize that I have nothing to complain about in the bigger scheme of things. We have food, good food, every day. We have a roof over our heads that we are able to pay for. We have one fully paid off car and another car that we were able to secure finance for. Our children go to private school and we have an incredible full time nanny, who we pay way above minimum wage and who we simply couldn’t manage without.
Yes, we’ve had to sacrifice some things. We don’t shop at Woolies (shame) anymore, we disconnected our DSTV a year ago because we couldn’t justify the cost anymore. I hardly ever spend any money on clothes or things for myself and when I do, it’s always bargain hunting. My husband spends nothing on himself except his regular haircut. Yes, I get my hair done but not nearly as regularly as it used to be and I no longer get my face threaded, reverting back to waxing my own eyebrows and lip. I never buy makeup anymore and I’m so very thankful for the goodies that I do receive through my blog, because that is what you see me wearing.
Recently, the City Of Johannesburg did a reevaluation of our house and our rates are having a massive increase! I checked also on my personal tax and yup, I fall into the tax bracket that is hardest hit by the budget speech from last week. I just don’t know anymore…..
I know, I know, all very #firstworldproblems
But I am so thankful to those of you reached out to me. I’d been in tears yesterday morning, realizing that my one great passion, my horse riding, which is expensive in the greater scheme of things, would have to be drastically cut back if I’m to continue keeping my head above water financially. In January, we had to let our gardener go, he’s been with us for 10 years and has young children, it was a crushing decision to make, but when it came to the crunch and looking critically at our expenses and where we could cut back, it was a decision that had to be made. The same with my horse riding, my decision to cut back, affects a business, which employs people and directly or indirectly affects them. And it’s so very very hard. But we have to shrink back into ourselves and see what cost cutting methods we can use to try and keep our heads above water.
Your stories broke my heart too.
Husbands who have been laid off, people having to work reduced hours because of business cost cutting methods. Families with enough financial back up to get them through another couple of months and then they’re financially ruined, but with no light at the end of the tunnel. It made me realize two things:
- The decisions I’ve had to make, while tough for me, are a tiny drop in the ocean in comparison to what some people are going through. There’s always someone out there worse off and at least we are still in a position to shave off on our expenses to keep ahead.
- Everyone (except for 2 people in the poll) are struggling financially at the moment.
So I guess my message is this….. you’re not alone, we’re all struggling.
It can be so very exhausting. I am fortunate enough to make a small but inconsistent income from my blog, which sometimes gets us through the last few end of the month salty crack snacks. It also means that I am constantly hustling and it can be hard to bear up under that, it’s tiring as all hell and I work, aside from my day time job, I work a lot.
But what can we do?
Don’t make comparisons from what you see online, it’s not real life. Don’t be wooed by carefully curated images and by what people let you see, I strongly believe, when you scratch the surface, most people, if not all, are struggling in one way or another.
Chin up, boobs out, raise in your fist in the air and show a finger to the sky, we’ve just got to soldier on!