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Nompilo Kunene
Senior online journalist
3 minute read
18 Dec 2021
05:49

Don’t break the bank this holiday

Nompilo Kunene

It seems that many South Africans have made peace with the fact that they will be broke in January after excessive spending in December.

It seems that many South Africans have made peace with the fact that they will be broke in January after excessive spending in December.

People have shared funny memes of what has been termed #Januworry, where they anticipate not having money until pay day in January, which comes at the end of the month for a lot of employed South Africans.

Financial advisor, Matthew Holmes, has urged people not to give in to the temptation to splurge on things they don’t need this festive season.

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic, many people have lost their jobs and are already living on stretched budgets.”
Matthew Holmes, Financial advisor

Holmes warned against buying luxury goods on credit or store cards as interest rates are high and the accumulation of more debt will increase people’s monthly expenses in the future.

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic, many people have lost their jobs and are already living on stretched budgets. So festive spending is not even an option, and they have to make do without some of the things they usually spoil themselves or their families with during these times.

“If you’re lucky enough to receive a bonus, try to save a portion of it before spending it. That way, you will have a head start to the new year and will have the funds to cover back-to-school expenses or buy something out of budget that you need,” he said.

Tips for planning your festive budget to ensure a stress-free January and to avoid #Januworry:

• Plan a budget that has ‘wiggle-room’ for unplanned expenses, like an extra gift or an outing.

• A budget that’s too tight could mean that you become frustrated and throw it out altogether.

• Write a list of gift ideas for each person you’ll be buying for and a budget for each gift and stick to it.

• Opt for home-cooked meals, eating out is expensive. Instead, make a special meal at home using food you already have.

• Look for bargains, December often abounds with bargains and sales, so take advantage of these money-saving opportunities by stocking up on gifts and decorations for next year.

“Be aware, however, that you can never save money by spending. If the money is not in your budget, then no matter how good the deal, you will be worse off than if you don’t make the purchase,” said Holmes.

Holmes said with the ever-increasing petrol prices and holiday rentals at a premium over the holiday season, families should consider staying at home and treating themselves to a few luxuries in the comfort of their own home.

“Outings don’t have to be lavish and expensive to be memorable. Be creative in planning festive outings that are free or inexpensive.

“Picnics at the beach or in the park or a hike with beautiful views can be just as memorable as an outing to an expensive venue.

“If your celebrations involve exchanging gifts, ‘Secret Santa’ is a great idea for gift giving. Rather than buying a gift for every family member or colleague, each person selects one other person for whom they will buy a gift.

“While the holiday season is a time for giving and for celebrating, it is important not to be tempted to spend funds that you don’t have or to use money that would usually be used for protecting your family against risk, like insurance and medical aid premiums,” said Holmes.