Spend wisely this Christmas
The festive season does not have to leave a spiralling hole of debt in its wake. “Overspending is like that irritating debt pebble in your ‘financial shoe'. It is best to avoid any overspending this Christmas because it can have big implications on your cashflow and budget in the long run,” said DebtSafe's Marketing and Sales Manager Matthys Potgieter.
“That lovely feeling of overspending in November and December is short-lived and consumers will feel the strain of their impulsive choices by the end of January 2019. Do not spend what you do not have,” said Potgieter.
African Bank's Mellony Ramalho says that employees often get paid early in December, making the wait for their January salary much longer.
“January is a tough month for a lot of people, with some resorting to credit cards with reckless abandon or taking out a loan. It is important to stay conscious of what you spend. Rather prepare a budget to avoid overspending,” said Ramalho.
Potgieter advises consumers to make sure that their pantry, fridge and freezer are stocked with longlasting ingredients, to keep their budget under control and avoid expensive last-minute buys.
“If your friends or family members are driving from and to the same area, consider carpooling. Using less cars means using less fuel and money. Also, avoid toll routes where possible and take alternative, scenic routes instead. We live in a beautiful country; enjoy the ride. Get the best fuel consumption by driving in the highest gear possible and maintaining a constant speed,” said Potgieter.
Buying gifts can eat a huge chunk out of your budget! “It's the idea that counts. What about letting the kids bake personally-designed treats for your loved ones? Or use available items and get going with your own arts and crafts skills to make ornaments, coasters or jewellery,” said Potgieter.
The South African Savings Institute provides the following tips:
• If you did not budget for a festive season trip, stay at home. If you didn't save, don't borrow to spend.
• Make the season's gifts instead of buying them; it puts more heart in the gift.
Give your precious time, instead of money, to the needy.
Invest in money boxes as gifts for children.
Avoid buying on impulse; resist those “sale” signs.
When you see “sale”, think “save” for your obligations. Have you budgeted for next year's school requirements – fees, stationery and uniforms?
The bottom line is that you do not have to spend excessively to get the most out of the festive season. Spend responsibly, keeping in mind the commitments that await you after the festive season.