Tips to survive the Xmas spending frenzy

The bank said many people get caught in the spending frenzy of the festive season much earlier, hence the need to issue the warning and survival tips now. Shopping centres have already started promoting festive-season spending.

With this in mind, the banks said it is time to start planning for the ‘silly season’ and without a holiday spending game-plan, people can quickly find themselves in trouble. “Even though you might be relaxed during the holiday season, there is no worse time to let budgeting go out of the window.”

“Knowing exactly what you are buying and for whom or why, should always be the first step in holiday spending. We are not only fighting against store displays, but also our inability to remain financially disciplined with the excitement that comes with this time of year,” advises Eunice Sibiya, head of FNB consumer education.

Sibiya said it was critical to carry the right ammunition with you as you get ready to enter the holiday spending battleground and advises the public to pay themselves first. She stresses that under no circumstances should the holiday season be allowed to deter one from saving.

When you receive your salary, make sure you put the same amount into your savings account as usual and don’t forget to save a portion of your bonus too, she advises. “There is no denying that it is harder to save over this period particularly if you didn’t put money away throughout the rest of the year. That is why budgeting is key,” said Sibiya.

She believes that without a budget, one’ll be seeing red at the end of the festive season. Irrespective of how many bargains are out there, the excuse that the silly season only comes once a year is not good enough and should be ditched.

Remember to allocate the appropriate funds to all the extra costs when you plan for this holiday. This should include fixed costs of every month and additional items such as entertainment when on holiday, she encourages.

Sibiya urged people to make room for a contingency amount too in the event that you have to spend more than planned. It is better to have budgeted for overspending than to have to use savings or push your accounts into the red.

She also urges people to shop alone as making it a social affair can easily lead to overspending. “ You need to learn how to avoid the ‘how-about-a-coffee?’ invitations. Be effective and rather shop alone if this will help kerb the temptations, she added.

Sibiya urged people to make gifting lighter on the pocket. Affordable gifts that are useful and good quality might be hard to find, so consider changing the way in which your family and friends approach gift buying.

Rather unleash your children’s creative juices by encouraging them to make presents for their friends and cousins as opposed to buying gifts. This creates the culture that it is not ‘all about the gift’, but that it’s truly the thought that counts, she said.

Sipho Siso

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