A dress I can’t afford…

When you have a lot of money, you can afford pretty much all you want…
When you have little money, you might need to make a choice… but sometimes, you don’t see it…

No matter how much money you have, spare change is always seen as not valuable. And so small costs don’t count.
But added together, they do actually come up to an amount that we don’t always realise/appreciate.

When I started my journey, one of my first support to someone was to help a young girl in South Africa buying a dress that she could not afford. She had a job but was not earning a lot, so this dress was out of her reach.

“There is this dress that I love and would like to buy, but I cannot afford it”
“Can you save a little each month?”
“No… at the end of the month, I do not have anything left…”
“Do you only spend on essential items?”
“How about sweets and soft drinks?”
“Oh, but those are cheap…”
“OK… have a look at what you spend. Every time you buy something, write it down and mark what it was for. No matter how much it costs, even R0.50…”
“But R1 is not a lot….”
“Try it… After 1 month, look at where you spent your money… Then you can decide where you spend it the following month…”
“Wow, I have spent more than I thought on sweets, cakes and soft drinks!”
“So now, the next time you want a R0.50 sweet or a R1 cake, stop and ask yourself: “”Do I want a sweet or do I want the dress?””… If you choose the dress, put this amount aside and watch it grow…”

After a few months, she eventually had enough to buy the dress – with no extra income and no other financial support… only by observing her spending, seeing the value of the “loose change” and making choices…


The cost in Euro and the comparison to European prices is irrelevant. We need to compare in country. But for those who are interested, at the time €1 = R11 (South African Rand)


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