The good people of 22seven managed to convince me to perform a series of 7 financial challenges that will enable me to save money and just generally become more financially aware – no easy task considering that I am a singing comedian by profession. But how can I say no to a challenge? I feel like Bear Grylls, except instead of going off into the wild, I will be exploring an uncharted wilderness of financial savvy-ness. Game on.

The first challenge I chose for myself is Groovy Gift. The rules are simple. “Make a gift for someone rather than buying it.”

Fortunately, I had just the occasion in mind. It’s my mom’s 60th birthday coming up. Sure, a less courageous spendthrift than I may have chosen an occasion not quite as auspicious as that to attempt his first financial challenge, but I must remind you that I’m the Bear Grylls of financial savings, and there is no time for timidity. Challenge accepted.

The plan is to draw black and white portraits of my mom, her husband (my stepdad), and her children and their partners – 8 drawings in total. I’m no Picasso, but I have been known to spend my spare time cartooning. I’m no Zapiro either, but I am able to come up with some quirky drawings that sometimes even look a bit more than vaguely like the person they’re supposed to depict.

I remember when I was little, and a close relative’s birthday was coming up, my mom always said to me, “instead of us going off and buying a birthday present, why don’t you make something instead? It will be so much more special.” Now the cynical side of my personality may want to think that, since I was so young that my mom had to buy presents on my behalf, this was maybe just her way to save money on presents and spare herself the effort of taking me to the shops. The truth is, though, that my mom was teaching me the value of giving someone something personal, from the heart, and showing me that effort is more important than money. Surely if I make a present for someone who taught me these inspiring things, her heart will melt, and she will love me even more than she already does? I guess we’ll find out…

Now, I hope this will not be considered cheating, but even an intrepid saver like myself couldn’t allow himself to deliver unto the person who gave him the gift of life 8 unframed pics. This is her 60th year on this planet, after all. So I decided (and by that I mean my wife instructed me) to get the pics nicely framed. A nice if overly talkative Italian man in Craighall quoted me R800 for all 8 of them, a bargain if you ask me, and while I am not spending R0 on my mom’s 60th, I am still saving quite a bit, while also delivering a quality gift as befitting a woman as awesome as my mom.

So… $ I got together:
Frames for 8 x hand-drawn pictures: R800
What I would have spent to get my mom a decent R60th birthday present: Probably R2000 or more.
Savings: R1200
Watching all my family members trying to figure out who’s who in the drawings: Priceless.

We have to wait for them they come back from the framer, and wait for me to give it to my mom. Stay posted for an update in one of my next blog posts. But how could my mom possibly not love her groovy gift?

To be continued…