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Be moneywise these holidays

‘It’s ok, it’s festive.’ We all know that carefree, somewhat irresponsible feeling we get during the festive period all too well. But we forget that Janu-Worry is coming… With a bit of moneywise planning, you can have fun but not end up with financial worries in the New Year.

Keep things simple
Instead of buying presents for everyone in your family, consider the ‘Secret Santa’ method. Names are drawn out of a hat and each person buys and receives one gift.

Entertainment
* Take the kids out once a week instead of every day. Also, keep in mind that there’s a lot of free entertainment this time of the year such as night markets, carols by candlelight and so on.
*When inviting guests for dinner, suggest a potluck meal where everyone brings a dish. You’ll save from having to make and cover the expenses of a multi-course dinner.
* It’s fun to go out and relax. But it can be expensive. Find alternative cost-effective fun activities such as a picnic on the beach, hike up the mountain or a sunset stroll along the promenade.

Cut down on convenience costs
Some of the most hidden costs of the holiday season are ‘convenience’ expenses. For example, it’s just easier to buy fast food when we feel we deserve the break. But, do this daily and you’ll be surprised at the amount of money spent.

Have a separate savings account for holiday spending
Even when you think you’re paying attention to your spending; little things can add up and derail your holiday budget. Have a separate holiday bank account so it’s easy to see exactly what you’ve spent and what is remaining.

Don’t overbuy food
We often think that Christmas is the time of year where we fling all our diets out the window and eat as much as we like. However, we’re often left with more food than we need. Instead, cater how you normally would for a dinner with a specified number of guests.

Plan for January: School fees, increased petrol prices and inflated grocery prices can increase your monthly monetary requirements. Use your 13th cheque or at least a huge portion of it towards your January expenses.

Budget

National Debt Advisors, a debt counselling service, gives this advice:

  • Be realistic about your budget. Start by predicting how much money you’ll have coming in and how much you think you’ll spend. The more realistic you are about each of these numbers, the more likely you’ll be able to keep within budget throughout the festive season. Remember to factor in January expenses such as uniform, stationery and school fees.
  • Chase deals. Throughout January many stores usually have huge discounts and savings available. To take advantage of these, budget for January sales with your December salary.
  • Make a list. Make a complete shopping list and stick to it. If it’s not on your list don’t buy it unless you really need it. Sticking to a list lets you not only budget but also stops you from getting carried away. Go to nationaldebtadvisors.co.za or call 087 808 9833 for more tips.

 

Read more: Making your home look fresh and festive, doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Check out our DIY home decorating tips.

Images: Freepik

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