PLAN YOUR GIFTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
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