The holiday season is thrilling. It is the time of the year when most of us get to live life in a ‘YOLO’ mode and make as many mistakes as possible. And it is okay! Well, it is the holiday season after all. Your sins will be forgiven after the holidays are over, right?
Most salaried people receive their December salaries in mid December giving them the perfect excuse to spend it all on Christmas celebrations.
However, there might be no redemption when it comes to your money. After the holidays are over, the should’ve, could’ve, would’ves can be hard to comprehend. When January hits, the results of these mistakes manifest in regret, self-recrimination, or even shame.
So before you make the mistake that you will regret later come January, it is good to recognise all the pitfalls and learn the steps you need to take to ensure that you do not fall victim.
The first and probably the most common mistake we all make during this season is the inability to make clear-cut money decisions and stick to them. After all, it is the holiday season, and you want to be part of the frenzy and celebration. You do not want to miss out. So you just spend without thinking too much.
When shopping for the holidays, temptations are everywhere. Even with the best of budgeting and planning, it’s inevitable that you will be tempted to spend beyond your intentions. There will be temptations to go to better destinations instead of a simple outdoor picnic. Or temptations to buy the kids bigger and more expensive Christmas presents.
But if you want to avoid bursting your holiday budget and potentially eating into your January budget, you need to make wise spending decisions this holiday season. Turn a blind eye to all the“irresistible” deals out there. Here are a few strategies that can help you be more intentional with your holiday spending.
A survey by WorldRemits reveals that most Kenyan households spend at least 54% of their monthly income on Christmas only. The costs include food, Christmas decorations, gifts, and other holiday indulgences. It is the season when malls receive the highest footfalls from shoppers and holiday destinations receive the highest bookings.
Everyone is trying to keep up and make Christmas as special as possible for their loved ones.
However, what many forget is that Christmas is not a competition. You can do the celebrations within your budget and still have a blast. Do not stretch yourself too thin trying to fit in with everyone else. Spending beyond your means now will not only stress you out but will affect your financial health in the coming year.
More than any other time, the Christmas season gives you a tonne of reasons to break out your bank - parties, great food, presents, road trips, family get-togethers, etc. This can easily make you forget your plan to spend less and save more during the season.
If you are not careful, you will be shocked if January arrives and the bills come knocking - if you are a parent, remember schools will open at the dawn of the new year, and school fees are waiting.
To keep yourself on track and avoid any surprises in January, consider committing now to staying disciplined with your spending this holiday season. Here are four ways that can help you track your holiday expenditure and stay on top of your finances:
Ever wondered where the famous term ‘Njaanuary’ came from? Well, for many of us, December’s salary comes in before Christmas. It gives us this false feeling of ‘I have money to spend for Christmas.’
However, many of us forget that this is not a Christmas bonus, nor is it free money. It is your December salary which is meant to take you all the way to the end of January. No matter what you do with this money, January bills are waiting.
So if you live a soft life during the holidays, forgetting that January still exists, then woe unto you because your ‘Njaanuary’ is likely to have more than 60 days.
But if you are smart enough to take control of your holiday season spending and finances in general, then you do not have to worry about this. For example, you could consider settling all your January bills before you start digging into your bank account for the holidays.
If you are like me, then you know that there is this irresistible high that comes with playing the host. The adrenaline comes with trying out your ‘silly’ recipes and having a house full of guests try them amidst good music and laughter. Nothing can beat that!
However, this is only good for a once-in-a-while indulgence. If you play host for all the partying this holiday season, you are looking for trouble later. After all, hosting is not cheap - even your ‘silly’ recipes require ingredients which means you will be spending money.
Therefore, to keep sane, don’t play host too much. If you must, find creative ways to have your guest contribute to the budget. For example, instead of carrying the whole weight of providing food, you can plan a potluck party instead.
If you are an avid follower of this page, you might have already seen a hilarious story from one of our own of a Christmas that he rather forget than even narrate about. If you haven’t, here it is.
As hilarious and far-fetched as it might sound, it is a story many of us can relate to. You check your bank account and feel a ‘sipangwingwi’ energy shot up. In your mind, you start imagining how you are going to up in your village in style.
So you rent (or borrow) yourself a guzzler and pass by the mall to do shopping. You want to show your family and friends in the village that ‘hata wewe ume -make it'.
Even without going too far as driving a rented guzzler to the village, you have this urge to keep up with the trends. All your friends and neighbors take regular trips to the mall or host parties every weekend, and you want to keep up.
Whatever it is, people-pleasing and keeping up with the joneses during this holiday season is one sure way to make you regret with January comes.
Do not let the holiday festivities make you forget that there is life after December. Remember that no matter what decisions you make, you and only you will carry the load once January comes.
Therefore, take note of the pitfalls above and strive to make good money decisions this holiday season. You will still enjoy the time even without going all out and stretching yourself too thin. Just plan correctly and know how to prioritize.