The festive season is fast approaching and it is usually that time of the year when Namibians from all walks of life spend their hard earned money recklessly and carelessly without consideration of the consequences to follow. One would argue that during this time of the year many people spend money blindly as if there was no tomorrow.
Well, the festive season is here, bringing with it a month of holidaying, celebrations and gift-giving. So many people get carried away by the spirit of the season that they recklessly spend money that they actually do not have.
Money is spent so recklessly in December to such an extent that there is none left aside to send the kids to school, pay rent or to even buy a litre of petrol in January. The month will start off with Windhoek going empty as habitants drive off to families or destinations that will bring them closer to friends they have long seen.
The Southerners will say ‘Suide maak vrede’ as they head south; Northerners ‘Andii keumbo’; Easterners ‘December mei ko nganda’ and the majority of neutrals flock the coastal towns of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund for beach parties. And yes, it is that time of the year when all that has been saved is put to use of any direction.
It is indeed a fact that most people begin each January flat broke. Many find themselves in the tight corner of owing lots of money that they can’t repay and watching interest rates pile up on their debts just because they splurged on gifts and holidays they couldn’t really afford.
The festive season is a particularly vulnerable time for all income brackets and consumers have to remember the demands of going into a new year. According to Sackie Nambandi, an employee at the First National Bank most people overspend because of poor planning and temptations. “Sometimes people get into shops and they end up buying things that they do not necessarily need,” explained Sackie. He further stated that it is wise for people to go to banks for financial advice during the festive season as it could help them make it through to January with stable finances.
Set the right expectations within the family
Family is typically the center of one’s life. While family members are known to love and care for each other they also tend to sometimes go berserk while expressing their love, by indulging in expensive gifts. It is therefore important to be more financially disciplined and understand that purchasing expensive gifts is not the only way of expressing one’s love.
“As a family it is wise to sit together and mutually discuss the financial situation. Then arrive at a consensus on the allocation towards festival bonus. A collective decision plays a big role in enhancing ties between family members. It might be tempting to buy the family a big LCD TV, but ask yourself whether it will be worth it in January when you need to borrow money for school fees and food, or when you’ll need to start paying off the debt,” said Sackie.
In his opinion, December is a better time to buy school things than it is to buy Christmas presents because stationery and other school essentials usually go up in price when the retailers start their back to school promotional campaigns after Christmas.
Set a budget and stick to it
The pressure to overspend is equally on! But with planning and budgeting one can never go wrong. With an idea of how much one spent the previous year, you are able to plan better for this year.
If you’re on a tight budget, make gifts for friends and family rather than buying them, and limit the amount of meals you eat out. Use the savings to pay off debt or set them aside to buy essentials in the New Year.
“As the saying goes, once bitten twice shy, if you felt the consequences of your spending, you need to put an action plan in place that will stop you making the same mistakes this year.”
Go for things you ‘need’ rather than things you ‘want’
If you spend on things you do not need today, you’ll have to sell the things you need later. This is a common thing in Namibia. Most people spend money recklessly and later end up selling their valuable materials to compensate for money they will need in January. See you at Cash Converters.
Put away money for later
Saving is very essential in surviving the January woes. “As I always say do not spend before you start saving, you should always save before spending,” said Sackie. He further stated that it is wise to open up a saving account and just put money aside. “For example, FNB has a saving system called Bank for Change which is attached to ones savings account. Money also go to that account when one swipes and can also request to transfer money to that account,” explained Sackie.
Sackie also stated that swiping is cheaper than withdrawing, therefore people can consider swiping as a good option too.
Tips that might come to your rescue this festive:
If you did not save, don’t borrow to spend;
If you did not budget for a festive season trip, stay at home;
Make the season’s gifts instead of buying them, it puts more heart to the gift;
Give your precious time to the needy as opposed to money during the season;
Invest in money boxes for children;
Avoid buying on impulse, resist those sale signs;
When you see sale, think SAVE;
The festive season brings with it a lot of joy, celebration and good cheer. It is in these times that a person may lose his or her focus on financial planning. However, it is wise to avoid making costly financial mistakes. Spend, but within limits, with the right awareness and after taking a holistic view of your finances. Enjoy yourself, but don’t waste money you don’t have.