“Money like emotions is something you must control to keep your life on the right track.” Natasha Munson
Once again, it is the season to make merry after working hard the entire year. It can also be a time when the wallet seems to shrink very fast if spending is not controlled. It is a time to worry for many since January comes equally fast with rent to pay, school fees, and other bulky expenses.
We are not suggesting that you should skip the jolly mood and stay uptight the whole season. You have earned the right to have a good time this year. There are a few pointers, however, that can make the transition to 2019 a little less agonizing to your finances.
1. Keep your Financial House in Order
Tracking your spending habits is the first step toward improving them. To avoid overspending during the Christmas holiday, set a holiday budget and stick to it. Ensure that your budgeted amounts are realistic by comparing with the previous year’s expenses. If you overspent in previous years, you can cancel the low priority items or get more affordable substitutes for them.
If you had a budget that worked in the prior years, you can keep the same budget but factor in the increased prices (inflation).
After creating a holiday budget, the next step is finding ways of sticking to it. You can keep a personal expenses diary and use it to record holiday-related expenses.
2. Make a List and Check It Twice
Christmas is a giving season and more often than not people go out of their way to shower their loved ones with gifts. It also translates to a lot of overspending through impulse or unnecessary purchases. One should, therefore, make a list of gifts and shopping you need to buy. Carefully re-examine the list to eliminate unnecessary costs and to see what can be excluded from the list.
Beware of items dubbed ’sale’ and research on their prior price to ensure you are getting a good bargain for them. Look out for best deals but don’t buy on impulse. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
3. Pool Funds
Most Christmas celebrations involve a lot of traveling upcountry or out-of-town getaways. One should consider partnering with a group of friends and pooling resources. This helps you save on fuel, housing, and entertainment costs.
4. Avoid Spending Where You Can
People are always touched by the fact that you put time and effort to do something nice for them. Instead of spending money on expensive gifts, one could make customized gifts for their friends. Instead of eating out at expensive outlets, try making a hearty meal at home.
All these seemingly small decisions will help you save some money which will come in handy in January.
5. Set Money Aside Before Christmas
The only way you can be sure you will have money come January is by setting some aside before you start your celebrations. You already know all your January expenses by now or at least the most critical ones. You know the fees you need to pay, the rent you usually pay and you can estimate the food and transport costs for the month. Open a savings plan account now and set that money aside. Then enjoy your Christmas without worrying about Njaanuary.
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