As the festive season approaches, it’s so easy to get caught up in the summertime fever that truly gets our wallets working overtime. After all, you certainly do deserve to treat yourself over the season, especially if you’ve had a year of hard work and want to unwind before getting back to the grind. Whether it’s splurging on long days spent wining and dining in the sunshine or treating loved ones with feasting and gifts, December can be a trying time on finances. What happens when the holidays are over?
It’s always best to start the New Year rested and refreshed rather than stressing about the debt you have accumulated. Some expenses, such as a loan to further a child’s education, buy a car or do some necessary home renovations, can be healthy but excessive debt can be restrictive and limit your choices. Try some of our top money management tips to help you manage your December budget?
1. Prioritise your budget allocation early
Getting your December budget allocations fleshed out as early as possible can really help you steer the ship through all of the temptations. This can go a long way to ensuring you stick to your Christmas budget. However, it’s also really important that you project all of your January and even February spending requirements too. Expenses such as school fees or increased medical aid rates can sneak up on you if you don’t plan into the New Year.
2. Track your holiday spending in real time
One of the best money-saving tips, which actually applies throughout the year too, is to diligently and honestly track your spending. There are some wonderful apps that can assist with this. After all, what good is painstakingly allocating your monthly spending if you aren’t tracking whether you’re staying within budget!
3. Don't try to keep up with the Joneses this year
The cost of hosting festive celebrations is one of the biggest challenges when trying to figure out how to stay within your budget over December. Friends and family can add additional stress when there’s a competitive streak to these festivities. Why not try a bring-and-share approach to festive feasting and decorations this year? This also goes a long way to feeding the festive spirit too. If you have children at home over the season then avoid overspending to entertain them, find inexpensive activities to keep them busy instead.
4. Turn a blind eye to buy now, pay later deals
Whether it’s for Christmas gifts, stocking up for New Year celebrations or going on that well-deserved vacation, try to avoid the siren call of buy now, pay later deals, that could overextend your future wallet. One of the best Christmas shopping tips is to only buy things that you can afford.
At the end of the day, your December spending can have a big impact on your financial well-being into the New Year. Hopefully these tips will help you to start the New Year on a firmer financial footing.