Your wallet knows the ritual all too well as it bends over backwards every year while you splurge on gifts, a bring-and-braai or ten, holiday fun, accommodation here and a tank of petrol there.
It’s all good. You deserve to spoil yourself… If your wallet could speak it would reassuringly tell you to calm down and enjoy the moment but for the love of bankruptcy to please think about the fact that your next pay cheque is only coming at the end of January.
Every year, South Africans spend about 28% more on their credit cards over the December periods; with a swipe swipe here and a swipe swipe there debt piles up and before you know it you polish your car with leftover Christmas trifle and park it somewhere with a big sign saying, “We had a very merry holiday but to have a happy new year this car is for sale.”
If only your wallet could speak and if only your credit card had tiny little hands to keep itself from getting swiped oh so very often.
But your wallet and credit card are in your hands; it’s up to you to keep them alive until your next pay day and it is your responsibility to prevent the inevitable emergency CPR you’ll have to perform on them when everything is red with an accompanying angry minus symbol.
So here are a few tips to avoid breaking the bank over the December holidays:
Reduce, reuse and recycle
We all know recycling is good for the environment but now you need to take it up a notch to make it good for your financial environment. Turn leftover food into new dishes, don’t waste any water or electricity and forget about buying name brands; generic is the way to go to stretch your Rand.
Park your car
If you can walk from A to B, then do it! Not only will the environment rejoice as you make your carbon footprint smaller but so will your wallet. Walking, cycling or even – if you have good balance – skateboarding can be a fun way to commute during your holidays.
Choose your spoils
Do you want a manicure, a pedicure, aromatherapy and a back massage? Rather choose one or two than everything. The same principle applies to other treats too, such as eating out or pimping your car: instead of getting new fancy rims and a sound system, choose one (or just opt for petrol).
Step away from malls and get creative
If you celebrate Christmas with the gift-giving tradition and want to save money you can always step away from a mall and make the gifts and gift cards yourself. You can find multiple DIY projects online, bake cookies or even give a plant from your own garden to a loved one. Next step is to reuse old gift bags and prettify newspaper to wrap up any gifts.
Go Dutch or have a pot-luck
Hosting holiday festivities and dinners can take a big bite out of your bank account. Instead of supplying a whole family or circle of friends with food and beverages, have a pot-luck, a bring-and-braai or go Dutch when eating out.
Before you have to face the Grinch who stole Christmas, rather stick to a budget during December and January to make sure you stretch your pay cheque till its last breath. Plan your expenses, set a daily budget and stick to it.
Date Published: 05 December 2016