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How to be Money Smart this Festive Season

Hi Triber!

Welcome to November!!! Wow, it feels so surreal, I mean just the other day, we were saying Happy New Year to each other and getting on with resolutions and being so hopeful with the beautiful things we were all expecting in the year 2020, and can you imagine, it is about fifty something days to Christmas, that is just humbling.

2020, may not have been the year we all dreamt and wished for, but it is most unfortunate that it is the year we got. Too many people have lost so much, but our journey does not end here. It is a continuous one that offers us the opportunity to breathe again... In taking this lesson, we can begin to make the tough decisions based on our better understanding of the situation.

If you are an ardent follower of our community, we trust that you have made use of all the information we have brought your way in the course of the year. If you have not, then know that, there is never a better time than NOW to bring to bear all that we have learnt this year. This is the season people are most lax and are all about instant gratification! Yes, we get that by some force of nature, we are relaxed and ready to unwind and spend some of that money we have all worked so hard to make; but before you start having that thought and get giddy on that; let us quickly remind you that November is the best time to plan for at least the first quarter of your 2021.

The events of the world and especially our country has made it such that, it is crucial to be more prudent at this time than ever. The goal for these last months should be #SpendLessSaveMore. Afterall, the money will still belongs to you,

It is so difficult to hear the word ‘save’ these days, when people are struggling to survive. So the question is, what am I saving and how do I save from the little that I am earning. There are various ways to save and one of the first and easy approach is to cut down on your expenses. For example, if you are still use to eating out, you can start with reducing that from regular to occasionally and then you might not need to eat out at all. This would save you a lot and that amount saved can be channelled to some other very needed expense. Back to our conversation….

So let’s talk about what you can do to save yourself from a January heartache...

  • Decide on a Budget - you must set for yourself and family a budget NOW before the festivities begin. Allocating a budget will definitely help to minimise overspending and making unnecessary purchases.
  • (a) Look at your existing budget and your current spend; combine the leftover of funds from unspent budget and add with what you have saved or can afford to budget for the holidays.

    (b) Make your holiday list /expenses, include gifts you may want to give out, travelling expenses, donations, food and entertainment costs. Once this has been compiled, divide what funds you have allocated for the holidays between each of the categories on your expense list.

    (c) Review your budget in the coming days leading to the festive season. If there is a shortfall in your budget, revisit your list to adjust and scale down.

  • Track Your Spending Habits – it will not do anyone any good if you have a budget and do not use it to guide your expenses. As a matter of fact, if you use your budget you will be able to track how you have spent money from the funds you have allocated for the season. Make sure to keep receipts of purchases or note them down so you can reconcile appropriately. There are lots of apps that help with this, where you do not find any App to your liking, a simple biro and paper always works.
  • Stick to your Shopping list – We all indulge, no doubts and you should do so rightly, but indulging too much and too many times leads to some unnecessary purchase(s) that can eat deep into your pockets. It takes discipline to stick to the budget that you have made. The first instincts are always right. If it is not on your list the first time, it most likely is not too important. Don’t be adding to your list every day, separate your needs from your wants... Let’s stick to the needs at this time, people!
  • Do not buy on Credit during this Season – consider doing a cash-only Christmas and avoid the temptation of buying without paying no matter how good the offer/deal is. Buying on credit makes you spend much more than you bargained for. While shopping, endeavour to be with cash without having to use your cards to make your transactions. Not only will you be conscious of your buys when you see the cash flying out of your hands, you will learn to stick to what you absolutely need. Be wary of festive deals as this may land you in more trouble than you bargained for.
  • Spending Your Christmas Bonus Wisely – We all indulge, no doubts and you should do so rightly, but indulging too much and too many times leads to some unnecessary purchase(s) that can eat deep into your pockets. It takes discipline to stick to the budget that you have made. The first instincts are always right. If it is not on your list the first time, it most likely is not too important. Don’t be adding to your list every day, separate your needs from your wants... Let’s stick to the needs at this time, people!
  • If you are one of those that will be lucky enough to get a Christmas bonus or the 13th month salary, the best thing you can do for yourself is to ensure that such fund goes towards something that is quite beneficial and wholesome to you.

Do not forget, you may have worked for that money and even deserved it, but consider it as a gift that you were not expecting and use the money accordingly. You may want to go back to your year plan to help guide you on what is actually a need that the money could service. The funds will most likely act as a buffer to fall back on in the New Year, if you are prudent with your expenses; or may come in handy when and if an unexpected cost arises during the season.

Remember, while we are all anticipating the joys of the festive season, it is also the perfect time to readjust your financial plan and keep track of your financial goals.

Talk to you soon.

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