2 December 2016
The festive season is a time of great spending. Whether a result of the unconscious effects of advertising or salary bonuses, December brings out the conspicuous consumer in many people. According to Compuscan, the number of store accounts opened doubles in December compared to the other months of the year.
The mass-consumerism that the festive season encourages may have short-term pleasures, but when the first instalment is due for all those accounts we opened, we may be left wondering where the money is going to come from. To prevent this from happening, we must remain disciplined by adopting simple yet effective guidelines for our spending.
- Have a budget, and stick to it. Unfortunately life’s normal obligations will still be there when the clock strikes 12 and 2017 begins. You should know what your financial obligations are, and allocate your income accordingly. Use what is left after budgeting, not what is available, to buy gifts and pleasures.
- Resist the temptation to impress others. It can be tempting to fit in to the spending going on all around us. Furthermore, we want to impress our loved ones and buy them something special (read expensive). But to avoid financial difficulty later, buy gifts within your means. If you don’t have the cash to buy it, don’t buy it. If you want to buy better things next year, start saving.
- Don’t do it alone. If you are struggling to manage your finances, or are already drowning in debt, seek help! The longer you wait, the fewer options will be available to you.
Don’t rush into this festive season without a financial plan for yourself. The structure provided by a careful budget and a prepared mind-set will protect you from financial woes in 2017.