Sunday Tribune - - PROPERTY360 - ANDILE JONAS

POTLUCK refers to a com­mu­nal gather­ing where each guest or group con­trib­utes a dif­fer­ent, of­ten home­made dish of food to be shared.

Din­ing out can be very ex­pen­sive, es­pe­cially if you are host­ing friends and rel­a­tives over the December pe­riod. Ask your guests to chip-in and you will find en­ter­tain­ing in­fin­itely less ex­pen­sive. It can also bring some cel­e­bra­tory cre­ativ­ity to the din­ing room ta­ble, as each guest of­fers a food choice unique to their tastes. Buy gifts ahead of time: You don’t have to wait un­til a week or two be­fore Christ­mas to go shop­ping. Both birth­day and Christ­mas gifts should be bought through­out the year, es­pe­cially if you spot some­thing that you know your loved one will be crazy about.

Mid-year sales, or even early Jan­uary sales, are a good time to shop for gifts if you can af­ford it. Keep them stashed away in the back of your cup­board and up­date a list of who you still need to shop for through­out the year, to min­imise ex­penses in December.

South Africa is no longer new to the Black Fri­day and Cyber Mon­day move­ment, and con­sumers ex­pect sales and dis­counts from retailers on th­ese days. Ac­cord­ing to Qw­erty Dig­i­tal, most re­tail or mall web­sites re­ceive an aver­age of 150 per­cent in­crease in web­site vis­its to their pro­mo­tion pages, and in 2015

Absa re­ported that card spend­ing in­creased by 81 per­cent on Black Fri­day com­pared to any other aver­age day through­out the year.

There are amaz­ing sales and spe­cials on Black Fri­day and

Cyber Mon­day, but I would ad­vise con­sumers not to splurge on items only be­cause they are avail­able at a dis­counted rate. In­stead of al­low­ing your­self to be se­duced by mar­ket­ing ploys and spend­ing money on things you don’t need, ear­mark a few big-ticket items – for ex­am­ple, a tele­vi­sion or re­frig­er­a­tor for the home that you need to re­place.

Un­der­stand what your real needs are, and keep an eye out for worth­while dis­counts and pro­mo­tions. The age-old ad­vice of re­ly­ing less on any kind of debt shouldn’t be lost dur­ing the silly sea­son. Sav­ing year-long can go a long way in en­sur­ing your December spend­ing doesn’t get out of con­trol.

Re­duce your debt, start­ing with that dreaded credit card. Avoid un­do­ing any ground gained by set­ting money aside in your monthly bud­get for your December hol­i­days. Even if it’s R500 that you put into a 30-day ac­count, this can be a wel­come nest egg when the fes­tive sea­son rolls around.

Andile Jonas is the head of mar­ket­ing at Mo­men­tum Fi­nan­cial Plan­ning

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