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Financial tips for surviving holiday season

The holiday season has just kicked off, starting with a bang and bringing with it a heavy financial burden for many consumers. “In spite of the holidays being a period for people to recharge and reflect ahead of the New Year, it is always characterised by excessive spending,” Eunice Sibiya, South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB) head of consumer education, said.

“The expectation is usually far from reality as the cost of living in major cities is relatively high, and takes a toll on disposable income,” Sibiya added.

Sibiya, who pointed out that managing the expectations lies with each individual, offered the following tips to avoid falling from grace during and after the holiday season:

Drop the act
Some people often act as if they have more money than they actually do. However, the best approach is to always spend within your budget and not be tempted to spend excessively purely to impress those around you.

Prioritise
Apart from unforeseen emergencies, holiday season expenses such as buying gifts and clothes for kids can be planned for well in advance. Try not to go overboard by buying expensive items.

Entertain creatively
Creativity can save you money, especially where family entertainment is concerned. Summer holidays usually bring good, sunny weather and South Africa’s provinces have some of the best parks for an outing without blowing your budget. For larger gatherings, request other members to bring a meal or dish to share the catering costs.

Stick to the plan
Before taking a well-deserved rest, plan your downtime and try to stick to your plans as much as possible.

Avoid ‘Janu-Worry’
Spend wisely knowing that summer holidays are long, and they can seem even longer when you have no money to use in January. Avoid starting the year with a major financial headache; keep money aside for back-to-school expenses and to travel to work.

She concluded: “A different mindset around this time of the year is necessary. In the midst of the festive season buzz, people often forget what is important, which is to spend time with family while recharging after a long year.

“All these important things can be done without spending money and when people feel the need to spend money, they can still do so without compromising their financial security.”

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