Look after your finances this festive season
By Tracy Eagles
Chief Marketing Officer at FirstRand.
It is that time of the year when the holiday cheer takes hold, and many of ours are tempted to spend more than we should. In these hard times, however, all of us should guard against overspending.
Budgets may seem restrictive and not part of the festive picture you have for your holiday, but ultimately, they are tools to help us live better. Last year consumers in South Africa spent 26% more on their credit cards in December than any other month of the year – most of it on luxury goods and entertainment. “We should all ask ourselves the question – do I really need this, or do I want this and could I live without this for a while until the financials look better? Many of you know the saying – when in doubt, leave out – and this should possibly also apply to luxury and unnecessary purchases over the holiday period,” suggests Tracy Eagles, Chief Marketing Officer at FirstRand Namibia Limited.
6 ways to avoid overspending this holiday
1. Don’t leave money lying around (over and above what you’ve budgeted) in your bank account. Move any additional cash into your bond or savings account – that way you won’t accidently spend it and you can move it back when January comes knocking.
2. Avoid lengthy trips to the mall. Between all the specials and holiday jingles, it’s very easy to open your wallet. ‘Do your festive season shopping alone and stick to your list,’ suggests Eagles. This will give you less reason to be distracted from your task.
3. Limit convenience spending. The holidays throw us out of our normal routine. With a crowded house, activities to plan and social gatherings, ordering takeaways might seem like a good idea – but it’s not good for your waist or your wallet.
4. Rethink gifts. Presents should never be the reason you don’t stick to your budget or go into debt. Spend time thinking about how to give meaningful gifts rather than the latest and greatest which might cost a fortune. ‘If your child is set on an expensive toy, electronic device or item of clothing, rather than giving in and purchasing it, sit down with them and make a plan that they can work towards in the New Year,’ Eagles advises.
5. Self-gifting is easy to do over the holidays. Limit the ‘presents’ you buy for yourself while out shopping.
6. Ask guests to contribute a dish for social gatherings so you don’t end up footing the bill alone.
Remember there is a festive season every single year. If you realise that having fun doesn’t necessarily mean spending money you don’t have, you will be much better off financially in 2020.