Staff Writer

As the holiday cheer takes hold, we’re bound to be tempted to spend more than we should, but having fun shouldn’t mean overspending.

Budgets may seem restrictive and not part of the festive picture you have for your holiday, but ultimately they’re tools to help you live better. ‘We know that consumers spent more on their credit cards in December than any other month of the year – most of it on luxury goods and entertainment. Whether you’re staying home or going away, if you’re not keeping an eye on your expenses, overboard is where you’re headed’ says Elzita Beukes, FNB Communications Manager.

Here are 6 ways to avoid overspending this holiday:

1. Don’t leave money lying around (over and above what you’ve budgeted) in your bank account. Move any additional cash into your investment account or savings pocket – that way you won’t accidently spend it and you can move it back when January comes knocking.

2. Avoid lengthy trips to the mall. Between all the specials and holiday jingles, it’s very easy to open your wallet. ‘Do your festive season shopping alone and stick to your list,’ suggests Beukes. This will give you less reason to be distracted from your task.

3. Limit convenience spending. The holidays throw us out of our normal routine. With a festive atmosphere at home, activities to plan and social gatherings, ordering takeaways might seem like a good idea – but it’s not good for your waist or your wallet.

4. Rethink gifts. Presents should never be the reason you don’t stick to your budget or go into debt. Spend time thinking about how to give meaningful gifts rather than the latest and greatest that cost a fortune. ‘If your child is set on an expensive toy, electronic device or item of clothing, rather than giving in and purchasing it, sit down with them and make a plan that they can work towards in the New Year,’ Beukes advises.

5. Self-gifting is easy to do over the holidays. Limit the ‘presents’ you buy for yourself while out shopping.

6. Ask guests to contribute a dish for social gatherings so you don’t end up footing the bill alone. Remember to adhere to COVID precautions, keeping gatherings small and wearing your mask at all times.

Beukes’s final advice: ‘Remember there is a festive season every single year. If you realise that having fun doesn’t necessarily mean spending money you don’t have, you will be more financially secure going into 2021.’