Businessperson of the Year: Ncumisa Ndelu teaches women financial literacy and strategic shopping

Businessperson of the Year: Ncumisa Ndelu teaches women financial literacy and strategic shopping
Ncumisa Ndelu with her stockpiled supplies at her home in Umlazi, Durban, 4 November 2020. (Photo: Rogan Ward)

The 1 Family 1 Stockpile founder has about a million followers building a healthy relationship with money.

More than 7,000 of you voted for frugal living expert and financial literacy coordinator Ncumisa Ndelu as Businessperson of the Year.

The founder of 1 Family 1 Stockpile says the inspiration behind the group continues to be her need to see women progress.

“Before starting the group, I had observed a lot of women and their spending habits and I was just not happy. When you’re looking at a person buying, and you see them spending their money like they don’t work for it, as if the money has been gifted to them, or that it doesn’t belong to them,” Ndelu told Daily Maverick.

“I started the group to encourage women to use their money wisely; to take ownership of their money. Women need to let stores know that it’s their money; it’s the store that must beg and compete for your money, not you throwing your money at them.”

Ndelu, a communications specialist by profession, started her frugal living platforms in 2016 on Facebook. The initial group has since expanded into a group for mothers with children under four called 1 Baby 1 Stockpile, and another for travel enthusiasts named From RSA to the World.

The 1 Family 1 Stockpile group is centred on the financial literacy of women and equipping them with the skills necessary to thrive financially. The group offers sessions such as those highlighting the link between finances and mental health, and stockpiling, saving and investment advice, talks and insight.

Ndelu started the platform with the intention of attracting 1,000 women, but she is now fast approaching a million followers across her three platforms.

Another driving force behind the group was to encourage women from all walks of life to take care of themselves, as she had a sense they were continuously giving and leaving little to nothing for themselves. Ndelu noted that this, as well as poor financial spending habits, stemmed from talks about money not being prevalent in households; particularly between mothers and their daughters.

Her realisation pushed her to expand her platforms to include Money Conversations with young adult women to teach them how to avoid debt and to avoid debts they cannot pay back. She used a $40,000 grant from Facebook’s community accelerator programme to set up this group.

Fleur Reid-Wernli, a sociologist, joined 1 Family 1 Stockpile five years ago, when she felt stockpiling was impossible, especially as she was not formally employed.

She told Daily Maverick she had been living from day to day without a budget, plan and menu. She believed she never had enough money to stockpile.

“Once I really started paying attention to the group as well as the teachings and advice of the women, [and] the specials they were sharing, I purposely would go out and buy with the intention of stockpiling. I knew that even on bad days, there would always be something to prepare.” Reid-Wernli said she started with basic necessities such as baked beans, tinned fish, cartons of milk, etc.

Strategic buying such as shopping for summer clothes in winter and winter clothes in summer, and buying school uniforms during the year when they were on special, added to her financial freedom, brought her peace of mind and kept her family warm and well fed.

For Ndelu, keeping women like Reid-Wernli on track financially, and ensuring their basic needs are met within their financial means, is exactly why she continues to do the work that she does. This, of course, runs alongside healing financially wounded women and creating a healthy relationship with money. She said: “What I am interested in at the end of the day is a woman living comfortably.” DM

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.


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