The festive season is here, and you might feel the pressure to splurge on jolly goodies and once-in-a-lifetime deals. However, it’s time to embrace a money-mindful approach by saying 'NO' to festive FOMO (fear of mission out) and ‘YES’ to invaluable experiences so that you pave the way for a worry-free January.
In this pursuit of a more mindful and financially sound holiday season, here are five frugal Christmas tips to help ensure yourself a Janu-no-worry:
Christmas Budget: Know your current money position and what your allocated spending amount for the December/Christmas period is (this includes the money that you can spend on gifts, celebrations, and things like travel expenses, for example). Keep track of your spending and make use of an ‘envelope’ or cash-only system to avoid racking up a big credit card balance. Don’t forget to also make use of some of the savings you have gathered via your reward programmes as this can lower your overall spending amount.
Gifts & Spoils: Reduce your number of Christmas gift buys this year and think thoughtfully about what you want to get or create. Homemade gifts are thrifty and special. You can also encourage the family to take on a ‘Secret Santa’ initiative (pulling a name out of a hat and spoiling one person within the spending limit). Or, what about sticking to a new ‘gifts for kids only’ rule instead? Don’t stress or stretch your pocket to impress, it will only give you the Janu-beyond worries.
Affordable meal/food considerations: Sharing is caring when it comes to special Christmas events and meals. Why not plan properly (snack or ‘meal type’) and consider hosting a potluck? Ask friends and family members to bring their favourite dish, side, or dessert to the celebration occasion.
DIY/Homemade decorations & table settings: No store-bought product can exceed the creativity or uniqueness of your do-it-yourself , AKA homemade Christmas décor and table decorations. Think of a Christmas-related theme (or let the kids choose) and bring countless frugal and fun options to the table.
The real reason for the season focus: Stick to your ‘needs’ and not ‘material wants’ this Christmas period. And if you want to spend something, spend time with your loved ones. Joy is found in experiences. No happy-go-lucky shopping outings and super expensive activities can replace the precious sit-down with friends or family and create memories that will last you a lifetime.
After the festivities wind down, you don’t want to be left with an empty wallet and regrets. Stick to your Christmas budget, unique gift or decorations approach, and focus on what truly matters. It’s all about keeping it real – spending quality time with those dearest to you. A money-mindful method to celebrating December will allow you to start your 2024 year on a high note. Here’s to a frugal Merry Christmas and an almost-here Janu-NO-Worry.
Wikus Olivier is the managing director at CreditSmart Financial Services.