COLUMN: Our spending habits betray Black financial investments

2016-12-15 06:01
opinion Ntlahla Nkukwana

opinion Ntlahla Nkukwana

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I am sure most people are familiar with the term “ ke December boss”, especially amongst Black communities.

This term is used by most as an excuse for their reckless behaviour; spending on new clothes, braais, expensive Christmas gifts, traditional ceremonies, excessive partying and making more loans.

The term has left a lot of people broke and drowning in debt as they perceive December as a month of enjoyment and reckless spending, even if it means spending money they do not even have.

People get so caught up in the hype that it is the festive season, they forget that December is just another month in a year just like any other month. As a result of this, a lot of people start a new year on a bad start because of December.

Here are some of the reasons, I think, why people spend a lot of money in December:

Mindless competition. More money is spent competing with each other, as in who has the most expensive clothes, who has a table with the most expensive booze and women, and who has the most braais.

We compete with each other so much that we even end up buying things that we really do not need just to impress people who really do not care about us.

This mindlessness extends to food.

What we normally eat, is just not good enough anymore, no more tinned fish and rice or rice and chicken.

December suddenly requires us to eat multi-coloured food daily, and jelly, custard, peaches or ice cream rear their heads with every meal.

The fridge is always full; biscuits and scorns, just in case we have visitors.

Clothes. Growing up, I do not remember a December I did not receive a set of new clothes from my parents, even if it meant getting them into deep debt.

Every Christmas, new clothes are the way neighbours compete with each other and also kids, the more expensive clothes I put on, the more it showed to my friends that I came from a family that could afford.

December should not be measured by how much money we spend, but by how much money we made or saved for personal investment.

We need to shift our minds from being consumers to being producers.

We need to spend more money investing in assets (things that will generate us more money in the long run) so that we can then celebrate every other month like its December.

We should stop competing with each other and try to collaborate and create businesses just like the retailers.

Which is why I emphasize the importance of financial literacy because financially literate people know that December is just like any other month.

They also know that the only people who benefit from the festive season spending spree are the retailers.

Your comments are welcome, you can email them to me at or you can reach me on Facebook: Ntlahla Burner Nkukwana .

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