DURBAN - As the festive season approaches and the holiday season beckons, the temptation to splurge on things we don’t really need grows.
Studies show that more sunlight makes us feel happier and, coupled with longer days, this creates the perfect environment for spending our hard-earned cash. But while it feels great to treat ourselves and our loved ones to expensive gifts and holidays, the reality is that we live in tough economic times and overspending during December causes anxiety during January and may mean that you begin the new year with debt that you didn’t intend for.
Herman Lombard, founder and Executive Director of African Unity cautions against buying luxury goods on credit or store cards as interest rates are high and the accumulation of more debt will increase your monthly expenses in the future.
Lombard said, "While credit cards can be useful for a necessary purchase, with interest rates as high as 27.75 percent, it is much better to save up over time for that big-ticket, luxury item. That way, the impulse to buy may disappear and you may even find that you can do without that purchase".
He added that if you do use a store card, then be aware of the costs involved and what this means to your monthly budget.
Lombard said that by wisely spending and saving during the festive season, you will be able to enjoy everything the season has to offer while still staying within your budget. He suggests these budget-beating tips to help you cut down on unnecessary spending.
"If you’re lucky enough to receive a bonus, try to save a portion of it before spending it. That way, you will have a head start to the new year and will have the funds to cover back-to-school expenses or buy something out of budget that you need," said Lombard.
Plan a budget that has ‘wiggle’ room built into it for unplanned expenses, like an extra gift or outing. A budget that’s too tight could mean that you become frustrated and throw it out altogether.
Stick to your list
Write a list of gift ideas for each person for whom you’ll be buying and a budget for each gift and stick to it.
Opt for home-cooked meals