After posting pictures of herself boarding a business class flight back to Joburg on her IG Stories, Khanyi Mbau unwittingly was promoted to chairperson of the Annual Women’s Conference.
With a designer bag in hand and her air ticket in the other, Ms Mbau didn’t come to play. In fact, she showed us how things need to be done when you find yourself in shady waters, it’s time to get out of Dodge City, but do it with style and grace.
By the time boyfriend Terrence Kudzai Mushonga got a whiff of her big escape from the UAE, she was safely back in SA.
Interestingly enough, the local TV personality sparked a much-needed conversation on social media about vex money.
According to Urbandictionary.com, vex money is by definition a Caribbean term used to describe the extra bit of money a woman will carry with her on a date.
“The amount usually covers cab fare or the bus ride home, just in case the cheap mofo won't pay for her ride/invite her in for coffee,” it notes.
South African women are all too aware of the need for vex money or that little nest egg hidden away from our men just in case we need to make a quick exit.
For Mbau, we’re guessing she had a bit more squirrelled away, despite rumours of her telling Mushonga she only had R3K in her bank account at one time.
What can we say? Men love the damsel in distress look, she just played into his fantasy.
Social media user Clemie Lobori hit the nail on the head when she tweeted: “If there's one thing this Khanyi Mbau saga taught me is, as a woman you need to have your own money. Your ‘Vex money’ whenever sh*t hits the fan with someone's son at 2am. You call a cab, book a flight or whatever, with your own money.”
If only it was that easy. As women, we find ourselves constantly having to carry the financial load in any relationship. School fees need to be paid, kids need to be fed and bae needs a new phone.
Coupled with living through a pandemic, saving even for a rainy day is a daunting task. There’s no extra cash that can be saved. But you know what, you have to start somewhere, even if it’s just a few rands.
“Whether it’s your decision or forced on you by circumstances, there are some financial basics that every woman should know,” notes Shafeeqah Isaacs, head of financial education at DirectAxis.
Isaacs says the first thing you should do is to dismiss the stereotypical view of men as breadwinners and women as spenders; there’s plenty of evidence, borne out by research, to show women are more cautious with money than men.
“A natural tendency to be careful with money is potentially an advantage, as long as excessive caution doesn’t become a reason for not taking action,” she adds.
Here’s how to get started:
You’ll need a clear picture of your income and expenses. To help you do this there are plenty of online budgeting tools
The important thing is to be honest. You want a realistic financial picture and you’re not doing yourself any favours if you inflate your income to make it seem you’re better off than you really are,” says Isaacs.
Isaacs explains that if your expenses match or exceed your income, you need to fix the problem.
“There are only two ways to do this - either you need to earn more, which is easier said than done, or you need to cut back on your spending,” she reiterates.
The best place to start is with unnecessary expenditure. Can you cut back on entertainment or reduce your grocery bills by sticking to necessities and not buying treats?
Try making your own meals and not ordering takeaways, or start a lift club to get to work and save on petrol.
However, she does warn not to be tempted to stop or withhold repayments on your bond, loans or other credit agreements. This will negatively affect your credit score.
Stay in charge
Once you’ve won a few small victories such as setting a budget, cutting unnecessary expenses and perhaps settling and closing high-interest retail accounts, you can start making bigger, longer-term plans, recommends Isaacs.
Some financial experts recommend the 50/30/20 rule as a guide on how to prioritise spending.
It suggests using 50% of your income on essentials such as food, rent or paying your bond, spending 30% on discretionary expenses such as clothing or entertainment and then saving or investing the remaining 20% for rainy days as well as retirement.
The last word
If you need more inspiration to take the first step, Isaacs suggests doing as Beyoncé says: “I truly believe women should be financially independent from their men. And let’s face it, money gives men the power to run the show.”
Amen to that!