Fi­nan­cial fit­ness

Public Sector Manager - - Contents -

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.

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