The holiday season is here with us, and with it comes a heightened propensity to spend. This month, if you are not careful, you could make impulse purchases which you might regret come January when you may be forced to live on a shoestring budget. We let you know how you can party, travel and gift your loved ones without breaking the bank.
Create a budget
Why is a budget important? Because with it, you can easily organise your expenses in terms of priorities, and then spend only on your immediate needs. Now that technology is an integral component of our lives, go ahead and craft your December budget by creating a new spreadsheet on your phone or downloading apps such as Wally and Spending Tracker which will help you manage your spending.
Change your perspective
Christine Moraa, a 28-year-old M-Pesa attendant, intends to borrow money from an online money lending app this festive season because she feels obligated to shop for and buy gifts for her family.
“My relatives back in the village expect me to surprise them with gifts when I visit them during Christmas, and I feel pressured to do so,” she says.
Paul Ngunyi, a psychologist and author of Art of High Performance in Business and Personal Success, advises that individuals should only offer their loved ones gifts that are thoughtful and meaningful. Also, gifts don’t have to be material things.
Make a shopping list and follow it
If you walk into a supermarket without a shopping list, you are likely to buy items you don’t need or hadn’t planned for. However, making a shopping list is not enough. You also need to practice strict adherence to it especially when you get tempted to buy things on impulse. You can do that by following the next step.
Pay in cash
One of the best ways to stay within your holiday budget is to leave your credit card at home when going for shopping. That way, it will be easier to avoid the temptation of picking more items than you had budgeted for. Additionally, you will need to stop borrowing those enticing loans from money lending apps which are easily accessible through your mobile phone.
Do your research
With technology, it is now possible to compare the prices of different items online, because most companies enlist the products they offer and their prices on their websites and social media platforms. If you wish to shop for, say, a pair of new shoes, why not look around for the best bargain?
Go for group gifts
If you need to gift your loved ones, consider teaming up with others and contribute towards purchasing the present. For instance, if you wish to surprise your parents with a washing machine, you can collaborate with your siblings and split the cost. You can also do this at the workplace.
Find alternative ways to celebrate
If you cannot afford to shower your family or friends with gifts, do not be hard on yourself. There are many ways to celebrate that don’t involve gifting.
For instance, showing up at important events or spending quality time with your loved ones doesn’t require exorbitant spending.
Explore your creativity
Sites such as Pinterest and YouTube have thousands of DIY videos and ideas that you can borrow. You can learn how to make handmade cards, decorate vases or make scarfs. Imagine if you learn one such skill and then offer your family and friends some exquisite, customised gift items?
Plan in advance
How much would you have saved if you’d have set aside some money for holiday spending every month since January? Thousands, right? Next year, plan early and you will be amazed. You could even open a fixed deposit account for this purpose.