Did you know debt increases your stress levels? I love my financial freedom

Izimangaliso Malatjie won the 2016 competition.  Picture: Leon Sadiki
Izimangaliso Malatjie won the 2016 competition. Picture: Leon Sadiki

Three years ago, Izimangaliso Malatjie was among the first contestants to sign up for City Press’ Money Makeover. She turned her finances around to become the first winner of the financial wellness boot camp. Three years later she’s still in control. She sent City Press this letter:

I just want to express my gratitude to City Press and Maya Fisher-French for the valuable lessons that I got from taking part in and winning the competition in 2016. When I entered the competition it was during a difficult time in my life.

I was highly indebted and was spending a lot of money on unnecessary items such as clothes, takeaway food, outings and hair extensions, which I thought were very important at the time.

It was quite an eye-opener for me to learn that debt also increases your stress levels and makes you anxious most of the time.

It was quite an eye-opener for me to learn that debt also increases your stress levels and makes you anxious most of the time.

Since taking part in the competition I have been able to keep away from buying clothes on credit (I do not have a single clothing store account).

I have learnt the importance of budgeting and sticking to it, having an emergency fund for unexpected things such as buying new tyres, or dealing with a burst geyser and other emergencies.

Recently, I realised the importance of an emergency fund when my daughter lost all her belongings in a fire at her university residence.

I was able to immediately get money out of my Absa 32-day notice account to assist her with all the basic necessities to start all over again and continue with her studies.

I have learnt the importance of delayed gratification. I do not buy furniture on credit, but I save until I can afford to buy what I need. I love travelling and I used to rely on my credit card for my travels.

I have learnt the importance of delayed gratification.

Now I have learnt to club in with a friend and save for our annual travels, that way we are able to share costs and to spend only what we have in the kitty.

Recently, I have even started a project through which I organise networking events where I educate women about the importance of saving and about financial wellness.

I also mentor young women who are starting out in the workplace and I emphasise the importance of a debt-free life and saving for what you need. I hope these lessons can reach as many people as possible and that together we can achieve a healthy financial status.

Remember it is not how much you have but what you can do with the little that you have. It is never too late to start saving, start today!

Kind regards, Dr Izimangaliso Malatjie

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July 2020

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