The festive season is on our doorstep, and perhaps after this ‘dumbstruck year’, it can indeed be a time to welcome some joy and rest for a change. Yes, happy that the current year is coming to a swift end and that something better awaits you in 2021.
But whatever form of happiness you are feeling, there is no need to go haywire and hurt your future or current financial position. This year has been hard enough as it is. Don’t ‘unconsciously’ make it worse for yourself. During this time, keep your ‘money head’, don’t overspend on material things, and be aware of anything that could negatively impact your finances.
This festive season should be about time well spent with those important to you. The 2020 year has not been kind and you therefore have to be a little kinder to yourself and those around you.
Quality time and happy, special moments do not mean that you have to overextend your pocket and your nerves in the process.
Here are five important money-related things to consider this festive season:
1. Don’t spend money that you do not have. Avoid post-festive season blues by sticking to your overall festive season budget. Let household members play their part and keep the holiday period, Christmas Day, or New Year’s events and costs in mind.
2. Although it is the season of giving, there is no need for expensive gifts. What about a heartfelt hug, personalised card, or affordable ‘little-something’ to brighten a loved one’s day instead? You could always decide not to do gift shopping at all – presents can be overrated, and quality time with your dear ones far surpasses material things. Not buying anything is the most frugal ‘festive season tip’ of all.
3. Festive dishes are welcome, but keep things minimal and affordable. How many Christmas leftovers do you want to end up with? Create homey meals but don’t go overboard with the amount of food or ingredients that you think you may need during this time. Where possible, work with the ingredients/products that you already have available. Why not ask family members or friends to do the same? Work with what you’ve got, keep it simple, keep it affordable and let everyone contribute to family-favourite meals.
4. If your festivities include some breakaway time, stay within your holiday budget. And, if the government’s regulations allow it, of course, be sure to:
- Travel light
- List an affordable-activities itinerary
- Choose reasonably-priced travel options
- Try self-catering, and
- Use reward points during your stay, outings and travels where possible.
5. Learn to rest, not to quit. Whatever resolutions/goals you still have left or have had, self-care during the festive season is probably the most important goal that you can have. This includes not stressing about and taking care of your financial situation. This time of year, especially having to deal with the financial implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, you deserve rest and a time to reflect.
If, however, you realise that you are in way over your head with debt already, now is not the time to sit back and hope that your financial woes will go away.
Don’t give in, rather be proactive about fixing your debt as soon as possible. Professionals can help you in reaching your financial goals. So why wait? Don’t go it alone and get into contact with your banker, financial planner, or a registered debt counsellor soonest to help you get your finances on track again.
Allow yourself some happiness – enjoy your festive season in a money-responsible, yet joyful manner. It is indeed the season to be jolly, but do not spend what you can’t afford. You don’t want to go that unfortunate and distressing route.
Merry, affordable Christmas and a happy, frugal New Year to you and your loved ones.
Carla Oberholzer is a debt advisor at DebtSafe.