According to the 2018 Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor, 36% of working metropolitan South Africans have other dependants, besides their children. “Whether it is supporting parents by contributing towards their grocery bill for the December holidays, or buying clothes for unemployed siblings for Christmas, the trick is to stay within your budget to avoid visiting ‘uMashonisa’ in the first week of January to cover the essentials like fuel, bus fares, groceries, back-to-school stationery and uniforms.”

John Manyike, the head of financial education at Old Mutual, offers these budgeting tips to help get you through the festive season:

1. Don’t go into the festive season without a budget. Before spending a cent on non-essential luxuries, it is essential to fulfil all your regular monthly expenses. No exceptions should be made. Next, allocate some funds towards the family expenses, entertainment and gifts. If you haven’t saved up for this already, you can use some of your year-end bonus (if you get one) or stokvel savings.

Be realistic about what you can contribute and don’t spend beyond your means. Using store accounts and credit cards to finance festive entertainment will leave you bloated with debt and can jeopardise any financial aspirations you may have for the New Year.

2. Allocate a portion of your bonus towards paying off your debts or back-to-school expenses, and even shop for these essentials during December.

3. Don’t forget to allocate a certain portion towards your savings. “Saving towards your long-term goal is important, don’t lose sight of that. Make sure you stick to your commitment towards reaching this goal, whatever it may be.” 

PERSONAL FINANCE