The latest General Household Survey found in 2021 that 51% of parents are experiencing financial strain. This situation has only become more complex over the past year as the cost-of-living crisis, currently affecting most of the world right now, has squeezed budgets and forced parents to make tough financial decisions. Thanks to the geopolitical conflict in Ukraine, interest rates have surged alongside the rising costs of fuel and food. Parents and caregivers need solutions designed to help them shave off the costs and optimise their budgets while ensuring that their children continue to receive a solid education.
Parents need inventive ways of saving money without compromising on quality and this is where loyalty-driven programmes can be of immense value, to parents and brands alike.
It has been a succession of cost-of-living crises like this one in 2023 that have triggered the evolution of loyalty points and coupons. People wanted cheaper so they could save money and brands wanted loyalty so they could build a customer base – creating savings within brand ecosystems made sense. The coupon, originally a copper token, evolved from something cut from magazines to a variety of digital loyalty programmes that are designed to incentivise people to come back to the store while saving money.
In South Africa, the School-Days programme has been developed specifically for parents as a place to turn these loyalty points – ones from partners such as Dis-Chem – into Education Time Points (ETPs) that can be used to pay for their children’s education. The platform is designed to streamline fundraising for parents so they can manage the heavy weight of school fees while using the loyalty points they’ve gathered from trusted South African institutions.
As South Africans look up at the mountain of bills and increasing costs around education, the ability to earn points (ETPs) and save money is invaluable. According to a recent article with Old Mutual, the Consumer Price Index is being outpaced by education inflation, making it hard for parents to save enough money to cover tuition fees. While a savings plan is intensely beneficial, and something that many families should consider, it is often not always possible which means parents need to find fresh ways of saving and raising money so they are ahead.
Parents and schools can use the School-Days platform to raise funds, and find novel ways of balancing the cost of living against the cost of education. It empowers educational institutions and communities to find funding and support so they can focus on providing quality education. This serves to enhance community engagement as everyone can come together to tackle shared issues, funding limitations, and costs within a space that’s secure and supportive. Anyone can contribute to the education needs of a child which makes it easier for people to come together and help one another when times are tough.
Of course, at a time when accountability and transparency are critical, particularly to South African parents and educational institutions, it is essential that any investment tool or funding platform embeds those qualities from the outset. Every contribution needs a clear path from payment to parent, child, or educational institution. This ensures that every contribution is directed towards its intended purpose, so donors have peace of mind while still being able to see the impact of their contributions.
While the road ahead is still rocky and the outlook remains complex, especially as the war continues to impact resources and economies, tools such as School-Days help parents, educators, and communities prioritise education and children.