December Smart saving Tips for the Savvy Women
It’s that time of the year again, the festive season, “ziBig days” as my Xhosa people call them. This is the time where we meet with family and friends, of which most we haven’t seen since last festive season.
During this time we start to prepare for the holidays by purchasing gifts, booking vacations and planning events – All things that lure us into overindulgence and spending money.
The holiday season alone accounts for a large portion of retailers annual sales. As a result, retailers rely on the festive season to make sales and encourage consumers to spend money that they do not have. Many South African consumers are paid their December salary in the middle of the month and some get their 13th cheque at the time and are therefore tempted by retailers to overspend. By the time January or even Christmas arrives, they are out of money.
The festive season is the perfect opportunity for one to recklessly spend their money and to overspend, consequently leading them into the New Year with a festive season financial hangover - the holiday debt.
As boring as this may sound to some but often early planning can save you loads of money in the long-run, while also eliminating additional stress over the busy Festive Season.
However, we are now in the beginning of December that means if you have not saved and planned earlier for this season, you need to find other strategies on how to spend and save money from now on.
I have done a bit of research and I came up with the following ways that could help us spend money wisely during this time.
1. Create An Event Diary:
Plan your events for the holidays in advance, especially if you have kids. This will reduce unnecessary spending on expensive outings due to a lack of planning. Switch play dates from venues that request an entrance fee, for simple play dates at your home. There are plenty of activities you can organise for the kids which won’t cost you a lot, such as setting up a picnic in the garden, getting the plastic pool and water sprinklers and let them run wild or setting up a treasure hunt in the house.
Have a list of the parties or activities you are planning to attend with an estimate of the amount you might spend on each. Make adjustments if needed be and ensure you don’t go over budget.
2. Christmas Dinner and Social Events:
Instead of going out for dinner on several occasions, why not plan a dinner party at home, along with some games and good music. The key is not to be shy to ask people to bring something along. People will generally bring something anyway, but you can ask a few friends to bring along some items you may need. You can always alternate the friends you ask. I’m sure nobody minds bringing a dessert or some snacks and drinks. When you do go out with friends, have a budget for the night and make sure you don’t spend more than what is budgeted for. You can do this by withdrawing the cash you will need and leave the cards at home.
3. Purchase items with cash or debit card:
Leave your credit card at home. Avoid shopping on credit at all times, instead, pay for items with cash or with a debit card. By doing this, you will not be able to overspend. When you are out of money – you will be out of money
4. Opt For Online Vouchers For Distant Relatives:
Should you need to buy gifts for overseas or distant relatives, it’s advisable to buy a shopping voucher. There are plenty of websites available to purchase online goods these days, which sell items such as music, books, electronics, clothes and so on.
This is to help them select a gift they want or need and it is also a great way to help you save money. This way you can select an amount you want to spend and stick to it. There are also no courier or postage fees involved.
5. Don’t be afraid to say NO
You will get a lot of invites to a lot of gatherings of which most of them will require you to spend a lot of money. If you do not have enough cash, you really do not have to be part of all the partying that you are invited to.
You must learn to say YES and NO to the right things and create boundaries within your life. And just because you say NO to something doesn’t make you a bad person. In fact, knowing your limits and respecting them is what will save you this Festive.
6. Keep the new year in mind at all times:
Make sure that you budget properly and keep your finances for January and the rest of the year in mind. Instead of waiting for January to come, when there is a chance of having already accrued holiday debt, plan a budget now that will encourage responsible spending over the festive season. Set new savings goals and amend your budgets to fit in line with your financial requirements. Although there is a possibility that you may overspend, planning before the New Year will create awareness and help you to take better control of your finance
Please do have lots and lots of fun but “Do all things in moderation” and be financially savvy.