HOW to be a savvy saver; knowing the difference between wants and needs; and being able to control impulse spending all start with the lessons one learns during childhood, according to a study undertaken by behaviour experts at the Cambridge University, UK.

“With South African national household savings at a mere 1.6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in September last year, there is a pressing need to improve both knowledge and attitudes towards saving,” said Sandile Xolo, Marketing and Communications Manager at Ithala Soc. Limited.

To this end, Ithala used July as National Savings Month to roll-out its financial literacy programme to primary schools in KwaZulu-Natal.

“This is part of our social responsibility outreach and we have involved all our branches in this initiative to teach children to save and understand the value of money”.

“The programme, called 67 lessons on saving, since Mandela Day falls within July, aims to teach youngsters how to save as well as equip them with financial skills and tools to manage money. By teaching youngsters to save, we hope to create a legacy of financial stability,” said Xolo.

Branch managers, staff and consultants visited Mafukuzela Primary School in Umlazi and Vusumuzi Primary School in Hillcrest on Mandela Day to kick-off the financial literacy programme.

Mafukuzela Primary School teacher L Ntombela complimented Ithala on its initiative, saying: “Ithala gave an outstanding lesson on saving. I am an Economics and Management Science teacher and I can tell how these lessons will impact on financial decision-making when the children reach adulthood. The lessons integrate exactly what they are taught in school. We need more such lessons to be taught in schools,” she said.

From a pupils perspective, Lungisani Hlongwa, a Grade seven pupil at Vusumuzi Primary School, said: “As much as we are taught in school about saving; hearing from someone coming from a financial institution like Ithala is a mind opener.

“It allows us to go deep and ask questions that cannot be asked during a school lesson. I will definitely take what I was taught today and practise it for the future.”

In the near future, Ithala plans to take the “67 lessons on saving” programme to disadvantaged schools in its coastal region which stretches from Mandini to Port Shepstone, including Mathubesizwe High School, Macambini Primary and Somshoko Secondary School.

A current distribution network of 39 branches in KZN provides convenient transacting facilities. Ithala offers a comprehensive portfolio of corporate and personal banking solutions.

For more information visit www.myithala.co.za, contact Ithala at 031 366 2500 or follow #MoveToIthala.