Standard Chartered Bank
It’s the time of year when the school holidays are out and everyone is in holiday mode.
With the holiday mood comes the urge to shop and eat and, generally, be merry.
And being merry should be on the agenda for everyone but it shouldn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket and add financial burdens that will come back to haunt you after the holidays are over.
PLAN YOUR HOLIDAYS WELL
Planning your holidays in advance can save you a lot of money.
These days many airlines or travel agent groups have travel fairs in the middle of the year that offer great value package deals and low air fare prices.
Planning your holiday in advance can also help you to draw up a realistic holiday budget for example knowing how much you should set aside for transportation, tours, accommodation and activities will help guide you on what you can or cannot afford for your travel.
Asides from holidaying outside the country, there are many interesting things that one can do without having to leave home and still enjoy the holidays while saving money.
Plan picnics to the beach with the family; have movie nights at home where you set up your living room as your own personal movie theatre; pull out those family board games which will keep the kids entertained while keeping their wits sharp; organise a family charitable activity where helping others will feel more meaningful.
Generally, there are plenty of inexpensive yet equally satisfying activities that one can do during the holidays that does not always have to involve shopping.
THE ART OF GIVING
For those who celebrate Christmas, the act of giving presents and receiving them may be a wonderful thing but it can do quite a bit of damage to the bank account if lists are not kept in check.
While not trying to replicate Uncle Scrooge, one must be reasonable on what can be afforded in terms of gift giving.
“Making a list and checking it twice” is certainly a good adage to go by if any. Create your Christmas gift list with recipients, gift options and cost of gifts in the list.
When done, add up the costs to get the total and you will be surprised at how much you are intending to spend.
Make adjustments where necessary in order to trim your list if needed to suit your budget better. Giving eco-green gifts like little trees and plants wrapped in a pretty pot is not only inexpensive but also sustainable.
Do also ask what your recipient would prefer for a gift. Most times the recipient will happily narrow it down for you hence making your budgetting and gift shopping all the more easier.
Wrapping papers and ribbons do cost money and whilst they are very pretty to look at, do consider cheaper or sustainable alternatives. Wrap gifts in plain white paper which would be cheaper but pretty it up with a pretty ribbon. Or use plain coloured recyclable woven bags so that even the wrapping doesn’t go to waste and the recipient can re-use the bag again!
YEAR END CLEAN UP
If you haven’t done your spring cleaning already, now is a good time to roll up those sleeves and dedicate a day to cleaning out your closets and storerooms to get rid of things that you haven’t touched in years.
Chances are if you haven’t needed an item for more than a year, then you will never need it at all. Sort and keep toys and old clothes in boxes and save these up for a garage sale or donate them to a charity.
Remember that even though you may be in a financially tight spot, there are many others out there who may not be as blessed as you and would be happy to receive your old things.
Cleaning out your old junk also helps you to declutter your house and hence leave you with more space, giving you better peace of mind.
Asides from cleaning out cupboards and store rooms, do also dedicate some time for yourself to sit down and take stock of your financial standings. Reflect on how you’ve spent your money this year and whether you made some wise or unwise decisions.
This will consciously help you to make better decisions for the next year.
Take stock of your investments and loans and assess your current financial status to see if you are financially healthy or not.
With the new year coming, make new plans and assessments for next year which you can aim for and achieve realistically.
This article is for general information purposes only and whilst the information in it is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by us. You are advised to exercise your own independent judgement with the contents in this article.