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Financial lessons from Mzansi Magic’s ‘I blew it’


Money & Finance

Financial lessons from Mzansi Magic’s ‘I blew it’

Financial lessons from Mzansi Magic’s ‘I blew it’

My big takeaway was that, when you come into money, don’t tell anyone.



One of my favourite South African reality shows to binge watch on DStv Stream is “I Blew It”. This show offers viewers a glimpse into the financial pitfalls people can encounter when they come into sudden wealth. Not only is it hilarious and almost hard to believe, it is quite educational as well. As an avid watcher, I have seen some common themes and recurring trends that cut across all the seasons. The saying that goes, “easy come, easy go,” is the whole premise of this show. I hate to say that, “a fool and his money are soon parted“, but once you watch the show, you’ll be saying it too. Common they splurge money on include designer clothes, alcohol/parties, drugs, love/sex and cars. I’ve only ever seen one episode where the participant didn’t buy a car. But everything else? It’s the standard.

You can watch the current season on DStv Stream or you can watch snippets on the ‘I Blew It’ YouTube playlist here.

Here are some key financial lessons we can learn from the ‘I blew it’ show and its guests.

Impulse Spending

The show often highlights how lottery winners/RAF beneficiaries or those who receive large sums of money quickly blow it all on lavish purchases and impulsive decisions. This emphasises the importance of having a financial plan and sticking to it, even when faced with unexpected windfalls.

One thing I have noticed is that when they get the notification of the bank deposit, the recipients are usually shocked. They immediately go and make a withdrawal or swipe for something to confirm that the money is really in the bank. It all goes downhill from there. None of the participants showed signs of being prepared for sudden wealth.

Delayed Gratification vs Instant Satisfaction:

The show emphasises the value of delayed gratification. Learning to prioritise long-term needs over fleeting desires is key to making sound financial decisions. Instead of focusing on immediate gratification, “I Blew It” reminds viewers to prioritise long-term goals like retirement or children’s education.  Developing a plan and allocating funds towards those goals is crucial for building a secure future.

My big takeaway was that, when you come into money, don’t tell anyone. The participants need to go home, get over the shock of their new found wealth, think things through, plan and strategise without the pressure of outside voices swaying them in all kinds of directions.

The Importance of Budgeting:

Without a budget, it’s easy to lose track of spending and overextend yourself. “I Blew It” showcases the consequences of neglecting to create a realistic budget that allocates funds for savings, expenses, and future goals.

In one of the episodes, the participant expresses his regret for not putting away money for his children’s education. He procrastinated on putting the money away until the money was depleted. It is important to keep track of how much money you need per month for all your expenses. This is so that when you catch a windfall, you may begin by settling those expenses first.

Lifestyle Inflation

The show often features individuals who adjust their lifestyles to match their newfound wealth, neglecting the temporary nature of their windfall. This highlights the importance of living within your means and avoiding unnecessary expenses that become difficult to maintain in the long run.

An expense that usually becomes difficult to maintain in the show is definitely the “flex budget”. The participants of the show inflate their friend groups and once the money is depleted, they fail to maintain that lifestyle and the expectations of the friend group.

The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.” – Proverbs 14:20

Financial Literacy is Key:

Many participants in “I Blew It” lack basic financial knowledge, making them vulnerable to poor financial decisions. The show emphasises the importance of financial literacy – understanding financial products, investments, and responsible money management practices.

You gotta stay ready so that you don’t have to get ready. If we had financial literacy and we were made aware of investment options, we wouldn’t struggle with sudden wealth. We need to teach our kids financial literacy from a young age. It needs to be second nature to replace impulses like splurging on clothes and alcohol. Financial literacy means being adequately prepared for whatever amount of money that may come your way.

Seek Professional Guidance:

On the show, they interview the friends and family of the suddenly rich participant. One thing I have noticed is that, there is always someone who tries to advise the participant to be wise or careful with their new found wealth. The participation doesn’t heed their warning and some of them will even take accountability for it during the interview. If the participants were to stay grounded and not let the money get to their head, then they can receive financial guidance from advisors. This whole show demonstrates the value of seeking professional help to manage your wealth. A financial advisor can help develop a plan, manage investments, and guide you towards long-term financial security.


Beyond Money Management

“I Blew It”  sometimes delves into the emotional aspects of financial mismanagement.  It highlights how sudden wealth can strain relationships and lead to poor decision-making clouded by emotions.

One of the issues I picked up on were around the concept of ‘respect’. There is need to reframe and redefine what ‘respect’ and ‘being respected’ means. There is a misconception that having money can somehow buy you respect. Whereas respect needs to be earned based on the quality of relationships you have with people. As an African, I can tell where this flawed concept of respect comes from. Have you ever heard the African adage that says, “ubuhle bendoda zinkomo zayo” which is loosely translated to, “a man’s allure is his cows?” Another question that I had was, whose respect is important to you? You can’t possibly expect to be respected by everyone. If you get respect through money, you will need money to forever sustain it.

By learning from the mistakes of the show’s participants, viewers can gain valuable insights into responsible financial management and avoid similar pitfalls. Remember, financial security is a journey, not a destination. Building wealth requires planning, discipline, and a commitment to long-term goals.

‘I blew it’ has been an inspiration to me. It has pushed me to wonder, “if I received a million rands today, what would I do with it?” I’m pretty sure I have budgeted it down to the last cent. It has helped me to put things into perspective. And now I pray that God may test me to prove my true character with a windfall of money. I want to see who I truly am.

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It's your girl! Natively fluent in speaking hard facts. I'm from the City of Kings, born and bred njenge sinkwa! Well versed in women's issues ngazathi libhayibhili. Ang'so mngan' wakho!

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