Enter the Money Makeover and learn how to settle your debt!

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By using “lazy money” Nono paid off her wedding loan in less than six months, and paid off her car by the end of the year – here’s how you can do it too

The fourth annual Absa/City Press Money Makeover is open for applications. Last year all six candidates met – and exceeded – their money goals. Here’s Nono’s story, and how you can be part of the 2021 Absa/City Press Money Makeover!

Nono works as a TV producer and married Vusi two years ago. She has a teenage daughter who lives with Nono’s parents in KwaZulu-Natal and last year the couple had their first child together, a beautiful baby girl.

Although Nono had never been one to take on debt, her wedding in December 2019 wiped out her savings and she had taken on a revolving loan to pay for those unexpected extras. “I had just spent all my savings on the wedding and after 12 years of working, I was starting from scratch. I had debt to settle and no savings to speak of.”

She worked with Absa financial adviser Steve Williamson who created a plan for her to target her debt. This meant that the “lazy” money that she was spending unconsciously went immediately to settle her debt. Nono exceeded all her timelines in paying off her credit card and revolving loan within six months. “Surprisingly, the little leftover money I had previously regarded as only spending money made the most difference in paying off debt.” Just by packing lunch each day rather than buying at work, she was able to increase her mortgage repayment by R500 a month.

Apart from settling debt, Nono created many clever savings strategies, including opening a “nappy fund” for the new baby, a family stokvel and a gratitude jar.

“With the baby on the way, my husband and I started our own ‘baby fund’. He opened a savings account where we saved for baby’s nappies and all those other expenses that come with a baby. Instead of baby-shower gifts, we asked our loved ones to contribute towards the baby fund so we can save the money for her,” Nono explains.

Nono also brought her siblings and their partners on her money journey by starting a stokvel to go towards groceries for December and January. “The main objective of this was for us to learn the habit of saving, the importance of holding each other accountable and setting an example for younger siblings.”

The gratitude jar was the couple’s way of paying it forward. “We put money in a jar weekly, and at the end of the year we use that money to buy something thoughtful for people who have impacted our lives that year,” Nono says.

Now that Nono has settled her debt, she has started on her goal of building a legacy for her daughters. The couple are adding extra repayments to the apartment Nono kept after the couple married and which she currently rents out. Nono is also starting to save for a deposit so she can buy another rental property. “The vision is for us is to have more properties so that generations to come after us have options we didn’t have,” Nono says.

This achievement saw her as a runner-up in the 2020 Absa/City Press Money Makeover competition.


If Nono’s story resonates with you and you have woken up to realise you are not where you want to be financially and are ready to make the commitment, Absa/City Press Money Makeover Challenge is once again open for applications. There are only six places available so only the most committed applicants will be considered.

Does your debt keep you awake at night? And is your money running out long before month-end? Or if you simply want to take control of your small start-up business or personal finances and grow your wealth, you may be just the person we are looking for!

The Absa/City Press Money Makeover Challenge will run over a six-month period and candidates will receive expert help to get their finances in order and achieve their unique financial goals.

During the six-month period, each eligible participant will stand a chance to win incentive prizes upon reaching certain pre-agreed milestones.

At the end of the challenge, a cash investment prize will be awarded to the participant who best managed to remain on track and successfully realised their financial goals during the period.

You will be paired with a financial adviser and the competition will run from April to October 2021.

Looking for some winning insights? Maya on Money unpacks what 2020’s winner, Catherien Tredoux, did right: 

Here’s more on the criteria for 2021’s applicants:

  • Must be over the age of 18.
  • Must have a transactional account with Absa wherein they deposit their monthly salary.  
  • Must earn a monthly salary/income of R20 000 or more (this can be a variable income if you are self-employed or a freelancer). Entrepreneurs with a small start-up business are welcome to enter.
  • Must not be over-indebted or blacklisted.
  • Must not currently be under debt review.
  • Must be prepared to be filmed, have their photograph taken and have their first name appear on our magazine’s platforms, in City Press and the social media channels of Absa and City Press.
  • Must commit to a six- to eight-month personalised financial fitness programme.
  • Must successfully complete all the tasks and reach all the goals assigned to them.

If you are interested, tell us about yourself and send your responses to the following questions to us by no later than 22 February 2021.  

  • Why would you like to participate – and what do you hope to achieve, if you are selected to participate?
  • What are your main financial pressures at the moment?
  • Are you married and do you have children?
  • What money matters keep you awake at night?
  • What has been your worst financial mistake?
  • What is your big dream?

Please also Email your full name and surname, age, region, ID number, Absa account number – as well as your current monthly budget (income and expenses) – to:

Remember to submit your application before the 22 February 2021 deadline!

To find out more about the Absa/City Press Money Makeover Challenge, you can read about last year’s contestants on the City Press website – under the Personal Finance tab – and on the Money Makeover Facebook page @CPMoneyMakeover

Here’s to being financially-free! 

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