At last, Christmas has here! And it comes with a lot of pomp and fanfare, just like in Nigeria. The holidays are a time for happy gatherings and lavish spending. But January has to wait another thirty-one days to receive the next paycheck.
To avoid being that friend who begs for help or takes out modest loans at the start of the year that are outstanding when “salary comes,” you can practice financial responsibility and set aside money for your holiday obligations.
You can kiss the fear of being broke in January goodbye by adopting these five easy steps:
Have a “holiday” budget
While it is great to reward yourself for all the hard work put in during the year, the absence of a holiday spending plan can make you overspend, leading to debts and misery in the New Year. Having a special budget helps you track and minimize your spending during this period.
Think of how much money you can afford to allocate from your income/salary to leisure activities, then create a budget for that amount, keeping in mind how much you’d need to comfortably live on in January. You can also keep yourself accountable by splitting your festive budget into daily spending limits that allows you spend only a certain amount per day.
Stick to the spending plan
You’ve created your budget, now what? You need to stick to it.
January is usually one of the longest months in the year, especially as salary does not come until month end. It is important you stick to the holiday budget you’ve created. It is also advisable you transfer the money reserved for January to a different bank account, so you don’t squander it in the spirit of merriments.
Remember that your budget is a plan to help you live your best live financially, therefore own it and stick to it.
Look out for holiday discounts and take advantage of them
With the holidays come lots of great deals and discounts, stores clearing out for the year sell stuff at giveaway prices. Some restaurants even offer discounts to customers who come in as a group. Look out for these opportunities and take advantage of them. You can also make enquiries beforehand, on the price list of eateries and other fun spots, to avoid being blindsided by the cost. Find out and go prepared.
Split the bill among friends
Hanging out with friends and loved ones is always fun, it is also a great way to reduce costs, as bills can be split equally among everyone. You enjoy great company while spending less than you would have ideally. It’s a win-win.
Also be wary of friends that make you spend so much. This is the period to confidently utter these life-saving words “I can’t afford it.”
Assess your personal financials
Amidst the pomp and pageantry, find time to review your financials for 2017, look out for your total income, expenses and investments, was there a decrease or increase in any of them compared to the previous year? How much did you set aside in 2017 for creating future wealth, and how can you top that in 2018? Then set realistic financial goals for 2018 and start working towards them from the first day of the New Year.