Ex­penses to watch dur­ing De­cem­ber

George Herald - Private Property - - Property News -

An­nual leave, Christ­mas gift­ing and school hol­i­days mean that a whole new bud­get needs to be drawn up to ac­com­mo­date all the once-off ex­penses that come with these perks of the sea­son. Rather than ru­in­ing your credit score on a month of lav­ish spend­ing, it is ad­vis­able to set up a bud­get be­fore De­cem­ber starts so that you do not have to re­sort to pur­chas­ing every­day items on credit and start the New

Year un­der un­due fi­nan­cial pres­sure.

To help you bud­get for the month ahead, Adrian Goslett, re­gional di­rec­tor and CEO of RE/MAX of South­ern Africa, lists some of the ex­penses home­own­ers will need to bud­get for over the hol­i­day sea­son:

In­ter­est rate hike

"The Mon­e­tary Pol­icy Com­mit­tee (MPC) re­cently an­nounced that in­ter­est rates would in­crease by 25 ba­sis points, bring­ing the prime lend­ing rate up to 10,25% and the repo rate to 6,75%. This means that your in­stal­ments on your home loan will in­crease as of 1 De­cem­ber. Fall­ing into ar­rears on your home loan is a danger­ous slide to­wards fi­nan­cial ruin. If you are re­ally strug­gling to keep up with your pay­ments, per­haps con­sider rent­ing out a room in your home if you have the ex­tra space. Al­ter­na­tively, you should con­sider down­scal­ing, but this should be done be­fore you reach a dire point in your fi­nances which would lead you to ac­cept low-ball of­fers out of des­per­a­tion," Goslett ad­vises.

Gro­cery bud­get

"Par­tic­u­larly for those who are tak­ing a few days’ leave over this pe­riod, be pre­pared to add onto your gro­cery bud­get. The ten­dency to snack in­creases when you are at home and within reach of your fully stocked food cup­board.

The fes­tive sea­son also en­cour­ages us to in­dulge and give in to our food crav­ings, which means that you're likely to stock up on all kinds of snacks that you nor­mally would con­vince your­self you don't need. If you are invit­ing peo­ple over to en­joy meals to­gether, this will also have an ef­fect on your spend­ing habits," says Goslett.

Su­per-charge your elec­tric bill

"Along with the tree and the stock­ings, Christ­mas lights are an in­te­gral part of set­ting the Christ­mas spirit. De­pend­ing on how of­ten you plan to switch these on, along with any other elec­tric dec­o­ra­tions (singing San­tas, glow­ing rein­deers, and the like), you should be pre­pared to spend more on your elec­tric bill over De­cem­ber. For those who don't cel­e­brate the hol­i­day, it is likely that their elec­tric bill will also rise if they've taken leave over this pe­riod. Be­ing at home means that they are likely to use elec­tric de­vices more of­ten than when they are at work all day, from switch­ing on fans and air-con­di­tion­ing units to watch­ing more tele­vi­sion and cook­ing big­ger meals more fre­quently - all of which will in­crease your elec­tri­cal usage," Goslett warns.

Stock­ing up on clean­ing sup­plies

"Those who plan on host­ing house guests for the hol­i­days should also bud­get for the ex­tra clean­ing sup­plies you are likely to use in prepa­ra­tion for their visit - es­pe­cially those who are host­ing de­mand­ing in-laws.

It is likely that you will pur­chase ex­pen­sive scented clean­ing prod­ucts over this pe­riod to make your home look and smell sparkling clean. Even if you aren’t plan­ning on host­ing guests, hav­ing time at home might in­spire you to tackle some clean­ing projects you don’t have time for dur­ing the rest of the year,” says Goslett.

Pet-sit­ter

Goslett re­minds pet own­ers who are plan­ning on trav­el­ling over the hol­i­days to bud­get for pet-sit­ters or hol­i­day ken­nels. "Hol­i­day­ing home­own­ers should also re­mem­ber to make sure they have enough elec­tric­ity and non-per­ish­able food at home so that they do not re­turn to a dark home with noth­ing to eat. The last thing you want to do on your way back from a long drive or flight is to stop at the gro­cery store, so be sure to bud­get and plan for this be­fore you leave," Goslett con­cludes.

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