The holidays sneak up on us faster than the sudden emergency.  So it’s important to start planning for them now.  

As the holiday season gets underway, fine-tuning your budget may be a top priority. When you have a firm spending plan in place, it becomes easier to avoid the overspending trap. This can lead to racking up debt.  

There is a trend for consumers to spend far more on their credit cards over the December period.  According to FNB Credit Card, credit card customers spend, 22% more than the rest of the year. 

Making a detailed shopping list and checking it twice can help you stick to your budget. But it’s not always foolproof. As you head to the stores here’s what you should be aware of to avoid wasting money during the holidays.  

Avoid the last minute scramble

When people overspend on gifts it’s usually because they run out of time. Don’t be the guy running around the mall with bags full of cable knit sweaters and peppermint bubble bath. When left to the last minute, finding a gift at an affordable price is pretty much impossible.  

Timing your purchases at the wrong time could lead to wasting money.  

If you have some very specific items you want to buy, it’s worth it to do some research.  Find out when those items tend to go on sale. Compare prices across different retailers. And don’t wait until the last minute to try to find savings. Shopping at the 11th hour could lead you to spend more.  

As you think of perfect gift ideas, jot them down. In fact, start buying gifts as you come across them. By planning ahead, you’re much more likely to find deals on items that the people in your life will love.  

Set a Budget and Stick to it!

Shopping without a budget is a recipe for disaster.  It’s easy to justify expensive purchases in the moment. But, you’ll regret it come January when your credit card statement is high. Before you set out on your shopping spree, have the following set in stone: Set a budget and stick to it. 

  1. Who is on your gift list?
  2. How much are you spending per person?
  3. What’s your total gift budget?

Knowing these numbers in advance will help you stick to your budget when you’re shopping. 

But remember: Holiday costs don’t stop at gifts. When creating your budget, make sure to include extra holiday items. Like wrapping paper, holiday parties, tasty treats, décor, and other miscellaneous expenses. 

Avoid Buying Holiday Gifts on Credit

Save money this holiday season by spending only what you have in your bank account. This means not using credit to buy gifts! When you buy a R100 gift on credit, you’ll pay them back that R100, plus another 20% or so in interest. . If you don’t pay the balance in full, you could still be paying for those R100 gifts months from now! 

Preparing for the holidays doesn’t have to be a terrifying exercise.  Set a reasonable budget and avoid racking up debt. You can still show your loved ones you care, while also protecting your financial future.

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