Interesting articles | Tony Hurlbatt

The silly season comes with a history of excitement and expectation and these festivities are renowned for the toll they take on many of our bank balances. The result is that many of us may have to tap into our savings accounts and credit cards in order to survive the months thereafter. We have some tips to help you with your spending habits this festive season.
By Tony Hurlbatt


The silly season comes with a history of excitement and expectation. The festivities are renowned for the toll they take on many of our bank balances. The result is that many of us may have to tap into our savings accounts and our credit cards in order to survive the months thereafter.



But why is it so difficult to manage our expenses during the month of December?



December is the season that most people take a break from work. Irrespective of whether or not you are going away or staying at home to relax and unwind. Extra cash is usually required. We see family and friends, accompanied with long relaxing dinners and that well known saying 'Just one more drink'.



The issue however comes in January when many of us realize we have overspent and we spend the next few months paying off expensive debt.



The trick is balance- learning how to have fun with the money we actually have available to spend is important.



Being aware of the main reason for an increase in our spending will help you make better spending decisions.



Here are some reasons:



1. Getting into the spirit



Dont be afraid to ask your guests to contribute towards your expenses, its easy to bring along occasional salads or drinks, which will ease your financial responsibilities



Also make sure you dont overspend when buying gifts. Allocate an amount per gift and stick to it.



2. Alluring Christmas 'Deals'



Walking around you are exposed to all the bells and whistles at discounted prices, How can you resist? Don't end up buying more then you actually planned for. You need to distinguish between what you want and what you really need.



3. Trying to be everything to everyone



The festive season is the time of the year where family and friends get together. Watch out that you don't end up playing hostess all season without setting some parameters. The end of the season will come and while you have fed and watered your family, you end with only some great memories, crazy photos and a bank account in the red.



4. When push comes to shove, how can spending truly be curtailed?



In an attempt to curtail your spending, make sure you draw up a realistic budget, particularly for the festive season. Include all your expenses and allocate a portion of your salary and bonus to savings.



Once you know what you are capable of spending, stick to it. All to often, we draw up a budget but end up spending what we want. Rather spend according to your plan and at the end of the day you get to steer clear of the debt trap.



Remember that the festive season is about spending time with family and friends not about the gifts and spending.



If you have a small change in your mind set you can leave your savings untouched.


With the right financial advice, the possibilities are indeed infinite.