After a month of making the most sensible financial decisions a singing comedian has ever made, I had finally arrived at my final #GYST challenge: Coin jar. Put every coin and any spare change that comes your way into a jar for 22 days and see how much it comes to at the end.
Easy enough, right? But as all South Africans know, though, we don’t live in a country where spare change lasts long. It’s what we use to tip petrol attendants, as well as to contribute to the informal economy, for example car guards, Homeless Talk salesmen and the occasional person selling stuff at intersections who I feel sorry for and gift coins instead of buying something.
While I felt confident that I could ignore the Homeless talk vendors and intersection salesmen for 22 days, and would have liked to spend a month stiffing petrol attendants and car guards, my white guilt would not allow it. And so I went for the ‘a-note-is-not-a-coin’ loophole and ended up giving out a lot of R10 notes. This was a costly decision, and while I don’t know the exact amount I spent, I’m guessing it was not unsubstantial.
My guilt assuaged, I set about hoarding coins, which I placed in a piggy bank that I once received as a present.
After 22 days, I had accumulated an amazing R184. It’s about a meal for two at Nando’s. Sure, it’s probably a bit less than I spent in R10 notes over the course of the 22 days, but I’ve had a thrifty month, what with all the GY$T challenges, so I hope you, dear reader, can overlook that detail and accept my claim of having saved R184.
Except, that’s how much I would have saved. But I’m South African. And so I did the right thing – I took the gigantic pile of coins and put them in the cubbyhole. That should keep the informal economy going for a month or two.
It had been an interesting 22 days. I had made my mom a 60th birthday gift instead of buying it; eschewed expensive Woolies meals and take-aways in favour of packed lunches; upgraded bank accounts to a more cost-effective option; proven that it’s possible to spend no money on a Sunday; put away R2000; overcome my predilection for hoarding and, finally, saved just over three weeks’ worth of coins. I was 22 days older and significantly financially wiser.
Thank you, 22seven. This is Deep Fried Man, unusually financially savvy musical comedian, intrepid bean counter and friend of the car guard signing out.