“We need to be financially responsible and financially smart throughout the year, but especially around Christmas and New Year, when money can fly out of your pocket at a pace.
“Your household budget should be able to withstand the test of the festive season considering that you will have almost six weeks before the next pay day,” says Eunice Sibiya, FNB head of Consumer Education.
Remember your January obligations and spend wisely.
She says when you draw up your budget for this time of year; you should allocate the appropriate funds to all the extra costs at this time of year. These could include items such as travel, gifts and entertainment.
If you’re easily tempted and can’t withstand the shiny lights and music that comes with this time of year, you’ll need to put plans into place.
“If you are going out for the evening, then only take a certain amount of cash with you for the night and once your cash is done, so is your evening. Also try to cut down where you can.”
Shopping online will not only help with the temptation of spending more money at the shops, but it will save on petrol as well, as most online shopping sites provide delivery of goods for free, or at a minimal fee.
Start budgeting for presents now. There’s no reason why you can’t buy presents throughout the year. By December you’ll have a stockpile of presents, it will ease the burden on your pocket during the mad rush and help you avoid falling victim to impulsive buying during this period. Also make sure that your gift is useful.
When it comes to affordable gifts, the value of getting creative should never be underestimated. Encouraging your children to make presents for their friends and cousins as opposed to buying them creates the culture that it is not “all about the gift” but that it’s truly the thought that counts and it is a great way to unleash their creative juices. Perhaps as an introduction to this idea, consider buying your children books that are filled with homemade gift ideas.
It’s good exercise and develops social skills such as sharing. Another good idea for a present is to give your child an “experience” as a present.
If you or someone you know has a cool toy, like a hot air balloon or four-by-four, then take your kids out on an adventure.
Children might like toys but also consider buying them interesting material or education toys for their next school year; this is a way of cutting future costs and investing in their education.
All the adults taking part put their names in a hat. Everyone draws one name and you buy a gift for that person only.
The group can decide on a monetary limit for the gift to keep everything fair. You could also create a “wish list” from which your loved ones could buy from, either as individuals or a group. This way, you’re assured of getting something you really want.
Going on holiday
Only you are in charge of your finances. Don’t spend recklessly with cash or card. Don’t open store accounts because you can’t afford presents you think you should be buying and don’t start 2015 with bills and debt.
Instead, break the debt cycle and manage your finances responsibly. If you’ll be receiving a bonus, use a portion of it to pay off some of your debt and start 2015 on the right footing.
Aneesa Razack, head of Strategic Growth, FNB Savings and Investments, says that the festive season is important to many people.
“It’s not a time where people worry about what they spend, instead, it is a period where we let our hair down and enjoy the end of another year.
“The issue, however, always comes in January where many find they have overspent and the next few months are spent trying to pay off expensive debt,” she says.
Razack says that the trick is balance.
“We need to learn how to have fun with the money we actually have available to spend. Being aware of the main reasons for an increase in spending will help you make better spending decisions.”
Here are some of the reasons: