Spend wisely this festive season

2010-12-04 11:15

I would not have noticed that another year is almost over if it wasn’t for the Christmas decorations that are being put up in most shops, and the adverts featuring Father Christmas.

As usual, the festive season will again take many by ­surprise and will trigger a fresh round of debt for the many who regularly fail to plan for this period.

The result of this is that money that should go ­towards school expenses is squandered on frivolous and impulse buying.

This kind of behaviour is symptomatic of our culture of trying to compete beyond our financial limits as well as the deep-rooted attitude of not taking financial management seriously.

The other thing is we tend not to have any long-term plans and would rather plan like those we perceive as being in a better position than us are doing.

Under normal circumstances this would be fine, but we do not have the same ­resources.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating the festive season but just don’t let this three-week period ruin your 49-week budget or spending plan.

Your fixed expenses and long-term financial commitments are far more important and should be what define your lifestyle. Impulsive ­actions in the next month to compete and impress peers should be eliminated.

The other day I overhead two colleagues talking about cell numbers.

One was complaining that the other has a lot of phone numbers. The other retorted that he only has a ­Rica-registered number.

I am bringing this up ­because the days of changing numbers and thereby ­vanishing are over.

The Rica register provides contactable numbers so ­creditors will always be able to find you.

It is said that bad habits are hard to break and I ­suppose the season of ­goodwill also drives ­consumers to support anyone trying to earn an honest ­living.

My concern is that there are so many businesses that sell anything from groceries to electronic goods that are unknown brands with no backup service agreements.

Whether you spend R200 or R2 000, it is a fortune if it is spent on junk.

The same can be said of clothing.

It is not wise to buy a green shirt or any item of clothing that will turn red ­after the first wash or come ­either two sizes too small or big.

Last-minute shoppers are often victims of such festive season traders.

» Diale is a financial planner. He can be contacted on 078 775 0802

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