It is getting harder and harder to make ends meet, and it’s about to get worse as the season of spending is around the corner. With many of us not receiving our bonuses this year because of the bad economy, it’s even more important not to get into debt this December.
Roz Thomas, Managing Director at Hill + Knowlton Strategies shares five tips for putting the brakes on festive season spending:
Draw up a budget – and stick to it!
The only way to reduce your Christmas spending is to have a budget. Know exactly how much money you have available, list all your expenses – from wrapping paper to groceries to transport costs – and decide how much you can spend on each item. Start with the expenses that are fixed, like transport, and then move on to the costs you have some control over, like gifts.
Think before you buy
If you’re going to buy clothes for your children this December, consider getting them items of clothing that they can wear a lot, and not just on very special occasions. Also make sure you buy at shops that match your budget. Your kids will still look and feel good in new outfits, even if they’re not fancy or expensive.
Find the best deals
Once again, it’s a good idea to make a list of exactly what you need. Groceries are going to be expensive this month, so cut back on the luxury food items and look out for special deals before you buy. If you don’t belong to a formal stokvel, you can still buy groceries with a group of friends to take advantage of bulk buying. It’s important to stick to your list when you go shopping and not be tempted by festive season food, so avoid bringing more cash than you need.
December is all about parties, but these can be expensive. If you’ve agreed to hold a celebration, then reduce the cost by asking all your guests to bring a dish and drinks. Remember that it’s been a hard year for everyone, so your friends and family will definitely understand and be more than willing to share the load.
Rather than buying your teenager something ‘cool’ that they will only use for a month or two, open a savings account for them and make a small deposit. Encourage them to put some money away every month, even if it is just R20, and save towards something they really want. It’s a good idea to do this yourself too – start saving now for next December so that you are ready for the spending season this time next year!