Festive season savings

At the launch, SASI Acting CEO Gerald Mwandiambira said “We feel that a message which recognizes the hardships and savings challenges we are all facing is important. A hash tag we have coined this year is #NEEDSANDWANTS where we want South Africans to recall which expenses they classify as needs versus wants. This is the basis of a good household budget.�?

I support SASI’s call because in experience as a Certified Financial Planner, every January, I get asked for financial help and advice by people who threw caution to the wind and indulged in some serious festive spending. The biggest culprit is the ubiquitous credit that makes people spend far more than they would if they were using cash or a debit card.

SASI’s common sense “tips to survive the festive season�?

  • Resist SALE, think SAVE! Clearly distinguish between needs and wants.
  • Make your own Christmas gifts and only take holidays you can afford.
  • Have a clear budget for your requirements in the New Year. Create a budget using the SASI budget tool.
  • Use free online tools to track your spending and debt and know where every cent of your income goes.
  • Pay cash for all purchases and don’t be trapped by easy credit – in fact, cut up those store credit cards!
  • Visualize what you want to save for and start saving more. Save your bonus and make it multiply.
  • Service your debt and stick to the payment terms. If you cannot service your monthly debts discuss your situation with your credit providers before it is too late. Consumers can seek assistance from a registered debt counsellor by contacting the NCR on 0860 627 627.

My additional tips
Frankly speaking, there are three important tips missing. These are:

  • Check the emotions driving you to spend and ask why five times;
  • Have a budget for your festive spending; and
  • Use part of your bonus or 13th cheque to reduce debt.

You might want to read more about how you could make your annual bonus give you a breather in January.