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‘The key thing to re­mem­ber is that it is go­ing to be a month and a half un­til you re­ceive your next pay cheque,” says Boi­tumelo Mothoa­gae, fi­nan­cial ad­viser and head of cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment at Lib­erty.

“Fig­ure out ex­actly what your ex­penses will be for De­cem­ber and Jan­uary, and then work out a hol­i­day bud­get based on what is left.”

Re­mem­ber that presents and fes­tive spend­ing don’t form part of your reg­u­lar bud­get, so your reg­u­lar ex­penses, par­tic­u­larly your debit or­ders, should be taken into ac­count be­fore you al­lo­cate funds to­wards a new flat-screen TV or the lat­est Sony PlayS­ta­tion.

To help you keep track of your wal­let this hol­i­day, Mothoa­gae sug­gests you use the fol­low­ing point­ers:

Set aside funds now for your end-ofDe­cem­ber debit or­ders and ex­penses in the new year.

What you can also do is make ar­range­ments for your debtors to debit you early (around the time that you get paid) if you know that you will be un­able to re­sist us­ing the money. In this way, you will pay all your debit or­ders in ad­vance.

Ac­count for Jan­uary ex­penses, such as school uni­forms, sta­tionery, school fees and trans­port to work.

Do not use funds you will need in Jan­uary to buy Christ­mas gifts.

In­stead of buy­ing gifts for ev­ery­one, sit down with your fam­ily and agree to have a se­cret Santa this year – each per­son buys and re­ceives one gift only. You can have a price limit so that you all re­ceive a gift of sim­i­lar value and no one over­spends.

The se­cret Santa idea also works well with work col­leagues.

If you are go­ing away on hol­i­day, draw up a hol­i­day bud­get and make sure you stick to it. Your bud­get should take into ac­count the fol­low­ing costs: Money for trans­port. Air­port taxes if you are fly­ing. En­trance fees to tourist at­trac­tions (such as Table Moun­tain).

Money for all your meals if your ac­com­mo­da­tion does not cater for meals.

Ex­tra money if you plan to buy gifts on hol­i­day.

Med­i­cal in­sur­ance so that you are cov­ered while out­side the coun­try and won’t have to spend ex­tra in a med­i­cal emer­gency.

An emer­gency fund for any emer­gen­cies that may oc­cur, such as your car break­ing down or if you lose your lug­gage.

Draw the whole fam­ily in and have a “bud­get dis­cus­sion” so that you are all on the same page and your fam­ily won’t place un­nec­es­sary de­mands on you fi­nan­cially.

List the things that will re­quire money and de­cide who will be re­spon­si­ble for what as­pect of the bud­get to en­sure that you are all ac­count­able for en­sur­ing fru­gal spend­ing. In this way, you also spread the costs, which be­come cheaper per per­son.

When it comes to credit, you could be tempted to use this fa­cil­ity over the fes­tive sea­son. If you have huge amounts of debt, you should se­ri­ously con­sider us­ing your bonus to pay off your debt so that you can start Jan­uary with a clean slate. How­ever, if you do this, re­mem­ber you need to steer clear of us­ing credit fa­cil­i­ties once you have paid them off. The last thing you want is to flush your bonus away in a never-end­ing del­uge of debt.

Pay off your debt, start­ing with the high­est in­ter­est-bear­ing debt. Typ­i­cally, your credit and store cards at­tract the high­est in­ter­est rates.

“Re­mem­ber that any money you spend on credit over the fes­tive sea­son will have to be re­paid once the Christ­mas lights go off,” warns Mothoa­gae.

She also points out that if you de­lay pay­ing off your debt, the amount you owe is go­ing to at­tract in­ter­est.

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