The festive season is upon us, a time to be around loved ones, relax, celebrate, and have fun. With all the fun, it can be easy to go overboard with the spending, some people end up spending unnecessarily or using money carelessly.

    Come January they are in debt or flat broke with no money to kickstart the new year. Well, it is possible to have the best holidays without spending a fortune and maxing out your credit card.

    There will be a lot of shopping temptations but, you will have to be a smart spender. As much as it’s okay to spend money doing what you want to do, you don’t want to overspend and exceed your holiday budget to a point where you start the new year in debt.

    Following are some of the few but crucial things you can do to manage your finances better during the holidays.

    1. Consult a Financial Advisor

    Get your finances in order by consulting a Financial Advisor to assist you in managing your money. Your spending pattern and emotional drive behind your financial decisions will be determined. This will not only help you with your holiday spending but, will be extended to setting goals for saving, investing, avoiding debt, and setting financial goals for the future.

    2. Have a budget

    Planning works perfectly, much better when you stick to it. Before you start spending on anything this festive, have a list of things that you need to do, and the amount required for each then do some calculations to see if you can afford to spend on holiday activities or gifting.

    Have a detailed budget wherein you divide your funds, by doing so you to see if your money will be enough or if you will have to cut certain costs so your spending is within your budget.

    3. Avoid the impulse buy

    Don’t be tricked by the red tag – Don’t buy things you don’t need just because they are on sale. If you see something marked down but, was never on your shopping list don’t buy it, this will mess up your budget.

    Be focused and only buy what you need and not what you want, this will save you and your money.

    4. Do your shopping early

    Around this time of the year, most retailers have the best deals that can help you save money while you stick to your budget. Shopping early allows you to research and compare prices before making any purchase.

    5. Track your spending

    If you have a set budget, then it tracking your spending is very much essential as it will keep you within the books. You will need to be disciplined and pursue due diligence. At the end of each day, record your spending and compare it with the budget you created.

    Yes, this will take much of your time and I know that no one has time for that when there is so much to do out there but, trust me if you do this your January will not be as miserable as some of the past years.

    6. Redeem your rewards

    Reward cards do come in handy at times like this. You will have to check if you have any credit card reward or loyalty programme that you can redeem to take care of some of your costs. This can be travel, food, or gifts for your family and friends.

    Let your reward save you from overspending while you make more memorable memories with your loved one.

    7. Set up a holiday spending

    Well, it’s already too late for this but this will help you next year. Set up a dedicated savings account and have any little money go into it every payday or once a month. It is much better to part with R500 every month than to come up with an extra R500 in December.

    Yes, it won’t be easy but, a stress-free holiday is guaranteed.

    8. Go easy on the gifting

    Don’t be pressured to get an expensive gift, stick to what you can afford, after all, it’s the thought that counts. A small thoughtful or meaningful gift is worth more than an expensive gift that dried your pockets.

    Don’t buy people things that they don’t need or will never use, take your time to think of what could be useful to them.

    9. Look for cheaper travel options

    Some people tend to spend more during the holidays because of travelling – going to their respective holiday destinations and back to their home when the holidays are over. There will always be costs incurred while travelling but, you can look into ways to limit them, you can shop around airlines and dates, avoid baggage fees by packing light, and pack your own meals.

    10. Plan how you want to start the new year

    Don’t get too excited during festive and forget that reality kicks in January. All the fun will be over, and bills will be remaining so, think ahead and plan your future.

    Promise yourself that you will take care of your long-term financial stability over making other people excited.

    11. Alcohol

    It goes without saying that for some people there’s no holiday without alcohol. There is nothing wrong with alcohol but, knowing how to control your alcohol consumption and how much money you spend on it will save you during the holidays. Know your limits and buy within your budget.

    12. Unplanned parties or events

    Parties and events will be everywhere, that’s a known fact but, you will have to try by all means to avoid such temptation of going to every event for the sake of having fun as this is where all your money will end if you are not disciplined. If you did not plan to go to a certain event rather ignore it.

    Learn to create your own fun, have intimate braai’s and play fun games with friends and family, this will save you a lot of money and will allow you to bond with your loved ones.

    The trick to having an amazing holiday with less spending is to avoid short term spending, this includes your alcohol, parties/events, gadgets, and any unnecessary things, and rather focus more on investing in long term, saving for the holidays in time, and overall use the past years as a learning curve into doing things better this time around.

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