The month of January has notoriously been named Januworry as people have generally run out of money.
One easily gets caught up in the frenzy of the Christmas spirit which is always costly. From gifts to catering to going back to school, expenses seem to mount as funds seem to deplete.
Once the Christmas Spirit passes, the decorations come down and life returns to normal, people tend to feel the pinch. It really hits hard and being faced with debt is not nearly as pleasant as the joy of Christmas.
Herewith some hints to help avoid the situation!
- Try and work out a realistic budget that is affordable to your income and not what you think others will expect of you.
- Plan and do not buy impulsively.
- Christmas is not a time to compete with others over gifts. Do not lose the essence of what this religious holiday is all about. It is a time to spread peace love and joy and to be generous of spirit. We should however always strive to live like this and not just at Christmas time.
- During the year, make a list of who you plan to gift at Christmas time. As sales come up throughout the year, rather buy what you can slowly than rushing to buy all of the gifts at once with one month’s income.
- Look at making gifts for people. Everyone appreciates thoughtfulness, time and effort. Personalised gifts are always appreciated.
- The value of the gift does not symbolise the importance of the recipient.
- Involve your children in this process so that they can learn from young rather than fall into the debt trap.
- Think about what you plan to do on Christmas Day a few months in advance. If you would like to host family and friends, buy in products slowly over time that can be frozen and don’t be shy to ask people to contribute salads, desserts, drinks and chips. It is a huge expense for one family to carry and leaving it to the last minute and then rushing to the stores is always much more costly. The stores hope that this will happen as they elevate their prices knowing that so many people fall into the trap.
- Think about possibly doing something different and creative if it will reduce the financial burden. Perhaps consider a picnic in your garden or on the beach. After all, its all about being together.
- Christmas decorations range in value. The spirit of Christmas is not lost by buying cheaper alternatives if it will alleviate your stress.
- As the schools break up at the end of the year, it is then that you should buy school uniforms and stationery for your child returning to school in the New Year. It is all a matter of planning and priorities.
- Do not fall into the trap of pushing the boundaries of your budget to impress others as nobody else but you are faced with the debt and stress that January brings.
- Bear in mind what the reason and purpose of Christmas is and keep your head so that your wallet and your pocket do not feel so bruised before going back to work.