Tis the season to spoil the kiddies. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m one of those people that tend to go a little crazy over the festive season, particularly when it comes to children’s toys and clothing. This year I am determined to stay away from the mall and keep my finances on track. So I asked Liberty to share some useful tips to survive the “silly season”.
Remember that December is just like any other month of the year. You still have a limited amount of money to spend, and you definitely need to budget to make sure you don’t get into debt.
Planning every expense is even more important during the holidays as there are so many extra costs that creep up if you are not careful. Spending more than you have can cause suffering for many months after you have put away the Christmas decorations and forgotten the festivities.
Whatever you do, don’t forget what a long month December is as you get paid early in December, but have to wait until the end of January until your next pay cheque. This means your salary has to last well over a month. Give some thought to how painful a month January can be if you throw caution to the wind over the festive period. January is just around the corner so spare a thought to what happens after Christmas.
These money-saving tips can help you enjoy the holidays, without going spending-crazy:
Many of us feel pressurised to buy expensive gifts and entertain family and friends. It is very easy to get caught up in the spirit of giving, but remember that you will just end up suffering in the New Year with bills and debt if you are not savvy with your money.
Put a cap on your festive season spending by drawing up a budget:
- Sit down and make a list of all your regular expenses that need to be paid in December. Include food, rent, transport, electricity and insurance costs, and any other bills you need to cover until you next get paid.
- Also write down extra costs that you know are coming in January, like school fees, school uniforms and stationery. Try to pay them upfront if you can.
- Add up all of these expenses and work out exactly how much money you need to put aside to pay for them.
- Now you will see how much money you have left over for seasonal expenses, like extra food, gifts and entertainment. Now you know how much money you have leftover in your budget for festive season spending, you need to make sure you don’t over-spend. Food, gifts and entertainment are the most common expenses – make sure you put some cash aside for each of these things.
Lastly, remember that spending on credit is a bad idea: do not be tempted to buy things on your store or credit card.
Thank you to Liberty for the great tips. Visit www.liberty.co.za for investment, insurance and health offerings for individuals and businesses.