Christmas is mostly a time of spending as opposed to saving. The reason for which businesses rake up sales as compared to the most part of the year. It is reasonable to spend during the festive season, but by all means avoid over-spending.
The Personal Finance team from Ghana Talks Business has put together these 6 ways to make Christmas financially rewarding. Gifts will be exchanged, several events and programs will be organized. It’s very easy to overspend or rack up debts if you don’t watch your budget because you may be caught up in the euphoria. Very importantly with the current economic hardships, reduction in household incomes and individual earnings, it is necessary that you do not overspend. Remember there is life beyond Christmas. Here are 6 ways to make this Christmas financially rewarding.
1. Have a plan of how you want to enjoy the season
Have a plan of where and how to enjoy the season. Enjoyment does not only come by spending but also giving. Both take out something from your pocket. A banker friend would say ‘both are debit actions’. You need to have a plan of where you would go. Whether you are alone or with a family you need to plan the places of interest to visit.
It is far easier if you are single and don’t have a family yet. In order to avoid overspending and having debts at the beginning of next year, just have a plan. Many people tend to spend more money than they have. Sometimes they even go to the extent of borrowing to sustain themselves throughout the festive season. This is beyond any pardon! Only spend money that you have on things that you have planned and budgeted for.
2. Spend more time with loved ones, not money
Most often, we are tempted to believe that spending a lot of money on gifts for our loved ones or taking them out to expensive and luxurious places is the best way to make them happy during Christmas. Consider visiting some loved ones during the holidays. We now live in a world where we don’t have time to visit our family friends. Growing up our parents would take us out to their friends.
That trend is no more. Of course, you are not doing this to avoid spending money but it saves money, why not? And people would appreciate your coming together for just some sticks of kebab, Jollof and children screaming around. Imagine catching up with a schoolmate you very were close with but haven’t met each other’s family before? That is rewarding!
3. Budget your Cash Gifts, Applying 80-20 Rule
Christmas is a time of giving. Individuals give each other presents, some give out money to friends. Mobile money networks have made it very easy to do so. Some cash gifts are recurrent year after year and those are easy to budget. However new expenses would emerge. You should know these expenses by the eve of the season.
If you are generous in nature, you need to make the planned cash ‘give-aways’ about 80% of your total cash gifts. Reserve the 20% for the unplanned ones, which would always show up. It is good to do this, so the unplanned cash gifts you give out as part of your Christmas spending do not over-stretch your finances.
4. Don’t Spend All Cash Gifts
These are monies you were not even expecting. Such monies could be thrown into the frenzy and before you say jack, it’s gone. Often times you cannot even account for them. Make up your mind that you would save at least 25% or one-quarter of cash gifts into some investment or savings no matter how small. It’s just the discipline of it. After all, you were going to go on with your life without the 75% at your disposal to spend or give out.
The electronic platform that makes it so easy for you to send monies out is the same platform that can push monies into a savings wallet. Look out for your bank’s apps and how they can help you push money into a savings wallet or an investment account. A friend used this strategy on her birthday and eventually saved GHC 800 in mutual fund investment.
5. Plan a Time for Doing Nothing
Christmas comes once a year and it should be enjoyed. The frenzy can also wear you out if there is no such thought of a time of doing nothing. For professionals and people in business just get one day that you will not step out. Of course, there is no spending and you also get to refresh your body for health reasons. A time of doing nothing is financially rewarding. Just find the time and place this Christmas.
6. When Its Done, Its Done
You need to take this approach to save yourself. You cannot feed the entire world. Once the season is over, let everyone who requests a Christmas gift know that it is done. A simple answer that could help is that ‘there would be many more Christmases to enjoy and they would be part of it in future‘. Or that you can make up to them on their birthday. It would a special moment for them alone.
There is life after Christmas. The new year will come with January yawning at you and lots of expectations and financial responsibility. January would either be a dry harmattan season or a drier winter month depending on where you are. Take control of the spending and yet decide to have more fun with family and friends.
Enter into the New Year with no debts to pay and with somewhat a good float to start with. You need money to gag the yawn of the month of January.