Approximately 56% of middle-income consumers in South Africa spend all of their monthly income in five days or less after receiving it. This is according to data from FNB’s retail segment which categorises middle income consumers as those who earn a gross monthly income of R7 000 to R60 000.Findings made is that middle-class consumers’ monthly salary does not last for 30 days and they struggle with money management with the shortfall leading to sacrifices in important areas such as having a back-up or emergency saving that can be used to pay for unforeseen expenses. Christoph Nieuwoudt, chief executive officer of FNB Consumer, said further findings made is that more than half of consumers miss at least one debit order over a 12-month period. “This indicates consumers are under pressure. For almost 40% of such customers, debt repayments make up more than half of their take-home-pay, which we consider to be very high. “The main driver of this is the large number of microlender loans and store cards that consumers take up. “The ideal scenario for a consumer is to have one provider who gives them a transactional account and the right type of credit when needed,” said Nieuwoudt.The bank encourages consumers to exercise financial discipline by efficiently adopting an adequate transactional behaviour. This include for instance checking statements on a banking app or online, stick to recommended free withdrawal limits or withdraw at a point of sale at a fraction of the cost while making purchases. Consumers are further advised to maximise free programmes such as eBucks Rewards, which rewards you for swiping your FNB credit or cheque card when making purchases and can save you up to 40%. “Fewer credit instalments will help you to manage debt obligations more efficiently and free up money for savings. From July 2017 and June 2018, FNB customers saved more than R1 billion through the ‘Bank Your Change’ functionality alone. “We’ve seen that 30% of middle-income consumers who are saving, save for emergencies and at least one other longer-term goal,” said Nieuwoudt.