The excitement of the upcoming festive season is starting to spread around Botswana. All the shops have dressed themselves with bright lights and sparkles, luring us into the magic of Christmas. The specials are screaming out, tempting us into the shops and away from our budgets that we have been trying to stick to all year. Shoppers beware!
Stick To Your Budget
We usually get paid early in December and have to wait until the end of January to get paid again.
This can be 6 to 7 weeks between salaries.
We also have the tendency to spend all of our bonuses as a “treat fund” to spoil ourselves and impress, instead of using it to help bridge this gap between salaries.
When you consider all these factors, you realise how important it is to carefully budget and plan all your spending wisely.
Aside from your usual budget that covers all your common monthly expenses, write a list of additional things you need to spend money on leading up to the holidays, and include your Christmas expenses.
Present List – who are you buying gifts for and how much can you afford to spend for each person
Social Calendar – start planning your events and budget an allowance. Make sure you allow extra for those engagements that you will be hosting, and less for those that you have been invited to.
Start planning the meals and treats, and try to buy them on special before the expensive Christmas rush for the non-perishable items.
Put some money aside toward your additional expenses in January, such as school fees and back to school costs.
Stick To Your Debt Prescription
You will notice that we have listed your Debt Repayments as the main priority on the budget table above.
The reason for this is your lenders still expect to be paid, regardless of the time of the year.
If you fall behind in
Do not use this time of the year to make excuses for not paying what you owe.
Beware of “Buy Now,
Pay Later” Offers
Lenders are more likely to offer us “specials” at this time of year. They know that most people have received extra money in the form of bonuses, and know we are feeling a little richer, making it easier for them to entice us.
Imagine an offer where the shops allow us to have something today, for nothing.
Does this sound too good to be true? That’s because it is. “Buy Now, Pay Later” premium holidays cost us more money later in interest and higher repayments. Premium Holidays should not be considered an option, except as a tool to get out of debt under the careful watch of a Debt Counsellor. It should never be used to get into further debt.
“Spend wisely this Festive Season, and give yourself the gift of a stress free January”
Author: Lechedzani Pitso – Financial Wellness Trainer with S.C.I. Training (Pty) Ltd. © S.C.I. Training run financial wellness and debt counselling programmes in Botswana.
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