The big December summer break is here, and plans are being made for holidays, family get-togethers, gifts, and fun activities. But these plans cannot be made in isolation: they need to be attached to a budget. Without a budget, the fun is either not going to happen or it’s going to break the budget to such an extent that January is a month of significant financial woes.
So on that note, and with time for planning running out, we have a few practical tips to ensure you and your loved ones can still make the most of a money-light December break.
Have a visible budget
Create your December budget, print it out and put it up in plain sight (the fridge door is always a good spot). The list must include all the break’s expected costs: accommodation, Christmas presents, traveling costs, food expenses and so forth. Then list the amount budgeted for each item with a big and bold total at the bottom to ensure you know what your ‘December spend ceiling’ is. This will help to keep that December budget on an even keel, with no unintended spending.
Get a piggy bank
Now is a great time to start saving loose your change. Put a piggy bank on the kitchen counter and get family members to join in. This activity can be fun and educational for young and old. This is a great way to start good saving habits amongst all family members – the habit might easily be continued for future events such as birthdays.
If the thought of saving even a little bit seems impossible on your current budget, you should consider joining our debt review program. Through creditor negotiations, the program frees up much-needed cash in overstretched budgets, which means your December could be as it should be: stress-free. For more info, contact us here.
Adjust your money psychology
There is a wise saying: ‘want what you have, don’t have what you want’. So take stock of what you have and say thanks because no matter how little you think you have, someone else has even less. Conversely, someone else will always have more than you. So it’s a useless struggle trying to catch up because the top of the ladder will always be beyond reach. Value the space where you are, realise that enough is good enough, and know that your self-worth is not connected to your net worth: it will certainly put the size of your gifts and treats in perspective. With true contentment comes true control of your finances.
Make use of sales
The sales always come in handy. Make a list before you head into the sale to prevent impulsive and excessive buying (does your mother-in-law really need a teapot in each of the colours on sale?).
Share the load
If the big holiday celebrations are happening at your house this December, then it’s time to start planning for sharing, not impressing. Especially if the well-intended treats will leave you eating dry rice cakes for the first half of 2017! You don’t have to pay for everything to your budget’s detriment. Ask your guests to bring something to eat (you don’t really want to be doing all the cooking in any way), and decide on clever ways to lighten the gift load. A clever gift plan is a gift draw, where each person brings one gift and everyone then gets a turn to select a gift from the collective heap.
Stick to the budget and game plan and you won’t have to worry about money and overspending. If your budget is not December proof, then remember to connect with us for a free debt-reduction action plan. Either way, ensure that you set yourself up for December success in advance so that all you’ll need to do is what you’re supposed to do in December: relax, reflect and unwind after a hectic 2016.