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How to plan for your year-end expenses

The festive season is the time that most people overspend, and the consequences of this can be felt until well into the New Year

Eunice Sibiya, First National Bank head of consumer education, urges consumers to make a conscious decision this year to plan appropriately, get all their finances in place and have a great end of year rest without money worries.

FNB is, alongside Standard Bank, ABSA and Nedbank, one of South Africa’s largest banks.

“With enough time and planning you will be able to get over the festive season without the stress of adding more debt.”
Here are Sibiya’s tips on how best to do it:

Review the previous year

Every year South Africans are ‘surprised’ by the amount of money they spend over the end of year holidays, vastly underestimating what they think they will spend.

For example, FNB credit card sees on around 30% spike in spending over the December period. This year, before the fun and party season is upon you, go and have a look at your bank statements from the last year,” Sibiya advises.

This is easy to do as bank statements are now available from most banks on a digital platform (don’t go into a branch to do this, it racks up unnecessary costs).

Go through very carefully all your expenditure over this period

Add up all the spending including, your credit card, any cash that you withdrew and anything spent on your cheque card. Don’t be tempted to cheat as you’ll only be cheating yourself. You should then have a real view of what you spent last festive season.

You may have to go through your statements from before the December holidays if you booked holidays.

Put a plan in place

With an idea of how much you spent the previous year, plan for this year. If you felt the consequences of your spending you need to put an action plan in place that will stop you making the same mistakes this year.

Draw up a budget and decide on a way to tackle it

This can be tough as there may simply not be the money to go away for the holidays this year. But with a plan you can at least make informed decisions before the time.

Good planning

This may require the input and influence of your family. Have an open and honest conversation with your family, or anyone that needs to be involved in your finances.

So if you make the decision together, such as working towards going on a holiday at the end of the year, everyone will be more inclined to help get to the goal.

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