Over the festive season, there’s frequently family tax in the form of expected generosity and support.
While it’s beautiful to be able to bless loved ones, and important to reward yourself too, it’s critical to do so without taking away from your future self. This December, consider being intentional, communicating clearly, and setting boundaries, even when it’s tough to do so.
Ayanda Ndimande, who is responsible for client solutions at Sanlam Retail Credit, suggests having a visual dashboard of your financial goals before the season starts. “Use Sanlam’s Credit Dashboard to do a free credit score check and map out financial milestones to work toward. This will help you reframe your festive season spending into a time to be ultra-intentional and disciplined.”
“When it comes to family tax, the first step is knowing what you can afford to give. Go through your bank statements to work out a budget. Create a list of people you’d like to support. Then work out how you can realistically and responsibly do so, without setting yourself back.”
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Ndimande suggests the following to set boundaries and start the new year with confidence:
Once you’ve worked out how much you can afford to give each of your family members, have an honest conversation. Ask them their expectations and be clear about how much you can afford. Try to meet in the middle and find smart ways to save, together. Stand your ground once you’ve set these boundaries. You know what you can afford and what you’re working toward.
Be very intentional about family gatherings too. Consider how you can share expenses fairly. Talk about how you plan to save and shift to healthier financial habits this year.
Be mindful about how you manage your money. Set aside the sums you need for big expenses such as January school fees and stationery as soon as your salary lands in your account. That includes the money you’ve mentally put aside for your loved ones. Try to put this in an interest-earning account, as soon as possible. And don’t forget to capitalise on rewards and loyalty programmes to reduce your overall expenditure.
Control your credit
Set boundaries with credit, so you don’t find yourself overwhelmed by debt. Understand how credit works and use it with caution. If you find you are starting to spin out of control, rather leave the credit card at home. Keep working towards your financial goals, like achieving a better credit score in 2024.
Ndimande says it’s best to be intentional and set boundaries this season – with yourself and your family. “If you need help, a live chat with a Sanlam credit management coach or a professional financial adviser can support you in improving your credit profile and overall financial well-being. Sanlam Credit Solutions is your partner to empower you to live with confidence and be savvy this season.”