Media Release


SASI reminds South Africa to recall their needs versus their wants


The South African Savings Institute (SASI) launches its annual Festive Season Savings Campaign in a year where the country is at major economic and political crossroads.  The continued #FEESMUSTFALL campaign, the country’s fragile economy, high levels of consumer debt and rising unemployment make 2016 a year most South Africans have less “festive cheer” than in the past.” SASI Chairperson Prem Govender says “A year such as 2016 calls for every South African to apply many of the messages around savings we have shared over many years. A tough year like this needs actions in demonstrating our ability to save or at least cut out unnecessary expenses.”


The Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor (OMSIM) 2016, showed that many South Africans in the study are already acting on cutting expenses with little ability to save. More than half (52%) of consumers regard their debt levels as overwhelming and 46% of consumers find it difficult to manage. And 19% of households expect their financial situation to get worse. Last year 41% of South Africans were saving less, this has grown to 49% in 2016.

“Many South Africans are already cutting out many luxury expenses and curbing spending whenever then can,” says Govender. “This Festive Period may show a decline in spending due to the tough environment we are in. Our message this year is to start considering 2017 by cutting all unnecessary expenses this festive period.”


As many families get together and the nation celebrates another year whilst taking a deserved holiday break, SASI Acting CEO Gerald Mwandiambira feels, “As we shared last year, the need to collectively pool resources and save is more than ever. It is important that families really consider savings groups and stokvels ahead of 2017, a year in which most economists see significant pressure on consumer income. Already the government has indicated that taxes may rise in 2017 as stated in the Finance Ministers medium term budget speech.”


SASI will continue to advocate Savings but the reality for most South Africans is that many people are now entering a period where surviving turbulent economic times is top priority. With this in mind, SASI’s theme this year is simply “Back to Basics” where to core message is to budget on all expenses and focus on everyone’s needs versus wants.

Mwandiambira adds “We feel that a message which recognises the hardships and savings challenges we are all facing is important. A hash tag we have coined this year is #NEEDSANDWANTS where we want South Africans to recall which expenses they classify as needs versus wants. This is the basis of a good household budget. We encourage our partners and the broader financial services community to use this hash tag on social media and in their campaigns.”

The Institute will together with the Provincial Offices of Consumer Protection and the Financial Planning Institute spend the month-long campaign conducting consumer education workshops in key strategic areas and Provinces around the country.  The institute will also visit various shopping malls as part of this year’s Festive Seasons campaign.



Tips to survive the festive season

  1. Resist SALE, think SAVE! Clearly distinguish between needs and wants.
  2. Make your own Christmas gifts and only take holidays you can afford.
  3. Have a clear budget for your requirements in the New Year. Create a budget using the SASI budget tool.
  4. Use free online tools to track your spending and debt and know where every cent of your income goes.
  5. Pay cash for all purposes and don’t be trapped by easy credit – in fact, cut up those store credit cards!
  6. Visualise what you want to save for and start saving more. Save your bonus and make it multiply.
  7. Service your debt and stick to the payment terms. If you cannot service your monthly debts discuss your situation with your credit providers before it is too late. Consumers can seek assistance from  a  registered  debt  counsellor  by  contacting  the  NCR  on  0860   627 627.


Contacts for interviews, photographs and information:

Joan Lema,

Issued on behalf of:

South African Savings Institute, +27 (011) 269 3789