Pippa Tshabalala: Don't get yourself into additional debt if you can avoid it

Pippa Tshabalala is the former presenter of The Verge, a TV show dedicated to video games that aired on on Vuzu between 2008 - 2012. She holds a BA Fine Arts degree and an MA Digital Animation degree from the University of the Witwatersrand. She writes for multiple publications on the subject of video games and technology. She was on the M&G 2013 list of Top 200 Young South African and the 2016 Brand SA 40 under 40.

Are you worried that your personal finances will suffer as a result of SA's political/economic climate? 
Aren't we all? I think you need to try and invest wisely to counter that. Don't buy stuff you know is going to devalue in next to no time. Better yet, get yourself a financial advisor.

In this economic climate, have you downsized your lifestyle at all? 
Not really, but it's not like we were living extravagantly anyway. I've become a bit more conscious of what I'm spending which is a start.

What are you doing to remain positive about your financial well-being during these tough times? 
I have investments for my kids and an RA and a couple of other things as well. I think the important thing is to not get yourself into additional debt if you can avoid it.

Out of all your responsibilities (bills, groceries, etc), what do you find to be the most expensive nowadays? 
School fees! This kills me every month. Mine will come down for my eldest son next year when he goes into Grade 1 (he's going to a public school), but at the moment creche fees for my youngest and Grade R school fees are my biggest expense.

How did your childhood influence your attitude towards money?
I've always been a bit of a worrier about money, even when I don't need to, but I guess it's a good and a bad thing. Good because I'm conscious of what I'm spending and bad because I sometimes stress for no reason.

How do you define financial independence? 
Not having to worry how you're going to pay the bills. And on that note, try not to have too many bills and debt that needs to be paid every month!

What is your number one financial priority right now? 
My kids.

In the event of an emergency, are you prepared financially? 
So so. I have some savings and investments I could cash in if necessary.

Have you ever been broke and how did you did deal with that period of your life? 
Luckily not for an extended period of time - only a month or so when I changed jobs.

Why do you think we so easily fall into debt these days? 
We're too drawn in by what other people have. Don't buy the flashy car if you can't afford to maintain it and pay the installments. You don't want to struggle to eat every month just so you can look good.

If you have the choice between buying a home or investing in shares, which would you choose and why?
Ummm, I'm not entirely sure actually. Probably a house although it's a very long term commitment that comes with its own set of responsibilities. If something breaks you have to pay for that as well and so on.

When you think of a comfortable retirement, what does that mean to you? 
Being able to not worry month to month if my money is going to run out.

What’s the worst money mistake you’ve ever made if you’ve made any? What did you learn from it? 
Not saving enough, early enough when I had more disposable income than I do now. I try and put something away every month now even if it's a small amount.

What was the last item you regret purchasing? 
I can't really think of anything offhand.

Do you have a budget? Why? Why not? 
Not really. I know roughly how much of my income goes towards various things, so I know how much I should have in my bank account after the bills come off. It's not that I don't think it's a good idea, but it's just not something I do.

What tools or resources do you rely on to keep your own personal finances in order? 
I use a couple of different apps to manage my savings and investments. I also use an app called STASH by Liberty, which is a great way to save a little every month. It rounds up your credit card swipes, allows you to stash small amounts of cash on an ad hoc basis. It's great.

Do you have rules for lending money to friends or family? 
I only really lend money to people I know would do the same for me. I don't like asking people for money even if I'm strapped for cash and I definitely don't like having to remind people they owe me money.

What are your money tips for our readers? 
Save early. I know it's tempting to splurge and spend it all, but try and splurge and spend just a little if you get a big amount of money for something. I'm not saying don't spoil yourself, but try and have a financial cushion for when you need it. Don't get yourself into debt unnecessarily and don't think that a credit card is the way to go!

Pic Credit: Mike Joubert.

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