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Christmas is no doubt a moment of fun, it comes towards the end of a calendar and financial year which is a good moment to have fun with family and friends, but it also come with a bad side – overspending! After a hardworking year, it is usual and normal to spend not just time with family and loved ones but also spend some good cash. How else can one have a good time without spending?
Unemployment is on the high side this year, inflation is high, Nigeria my country is going through a recession, savings are very low and it seem as if there is no way to go about Christmas. I’m very sure that won’t stop so many from spending big during the yuletide.
Starting a new year on a “broke” note is becoming a norm for Nigerians – because of the height if overspending at Christmas – this year we can change the tides.
Before getting carried away with the fun the season brings, before splashing money and sending gifts everywhere – there is a gift you should give yourself first and that is “restraint”. Here are some tips going about that:
1. Have a budget
Having a budget goes a long way to plan your spending during the yuletide season. Before the holiday season of merriment, feasting and shopping begins, it is expedient you decide how much you want to spend. Your budget should be broken down into categories of necessities according to their scale of preferences – this will help major and what is important and help ignore what is less important.
2. Stick to budget
As good as having a budget is, it becomes so useless when the discipline to stick to the lists is missing. Avoiding overspending at Christmas demand a huge deposit of discipline. Just after your budget, it is good to note that some other seemingly important things will be left out of the lists – hence there is a need to be disciplined. Having a budget will make you miss out of some things and you have to make up your mind to let go – you just might not be able to have the usual hangout with some friends as usual, you just might have to find somewhere not that expensive this year for family vacation. It is just the price to pay.
3. Limit self-gifting
Ironically one trend that seem to remain on the increase over the years is “self-gifting” People tend to overspend on themselves during Christmas than ever. The culture a while ago is to buy things for people – it is a season of giving, but people nowadays give but to themselves more. You must be careful of this trend and limit yourself in this regard, it will help you avoid overspending during Christmas.
4. Christmas is about giving, not buying
Christmas is worth celebrating because of the gift of Christ to humanity, so we must be conscious of the fact that it is about giving, being thankful, and making others joyful. I’m aware of the temptation of buying things for yourself – you just must caution yourself not to. It is not just about buying things for yourself but giving to people – trust me, there are a million and one things you can also give without having to buy. Doing this will help avoid overspending outside budget.
5. Make your own gifts
The idea about gifts during Christmas is to show some love, not just buying and people are always touched by that singular act. Before you go on Jumia, Konga, Amazon or visit Shoprite buying expensive gifts which may lead you out of budget, you should get creative about those gifts – something handmade will be perfect. Why not bake a cake, make your own hamper, make dinner and invite friends over. Just do something creative and good while having fun with loved ones
6. Curb expectations early
Sticking to budget will simply imply that you will cut down on the number of Christmas gifts and expenses this holiday. Sequel to this, it is important to establish some expectations early. For example, many of us have the culture of travelling home to spend time with family – that is a big deal because the usual culture is to come home big, it’s just thanksgiving.
For our kids at Christmas – they are familiar with demanding high during Christmas as usual. I suggest you find a way to curb those expectations, for the kids it could just be a meeting explaining why some things cannot be done as usual this year.
7. Track spending
One greatest component to wise financial stewardship is the ability to track spending on a regular basis – best daily. Avoiding overspending at Christmas will go a long way to set you in pace for the year ahead. That was why my first tip was to have a budget and secondly to stick to that budget, however there are exceptions to this, some unforeseen expenses may arise, hence there is a need to track how much you spend to keep you in shape.
Avoiding overspending at Christmas may appear difficult but I believe possible. It would only require being disciplined, prudent and some efforts. Here is the idea, if you can avoid overspending at christmas, by January you’ll appreciate me for it.
Have a lovely Christmas and holiday – cheers!