The holidays may seem an unusual time to talk about budgets and financial planning. It’s easy to get distracted by parties and gift buying, but it’s traditionally the time of year to focus on what is truly important. What better time to think about financial planning which is, at its core, aligning your money with your values. Consumers spend more money during the holiday season that is, the three months before New Year’s on presents, travel, and entertaining, than at any other time of the year. And much of that buying is done on credit, at high interest, which can lead to major debt and finance problems for months or even years to come. To keep your cheer intact before and after the holidays, we’ve compiled a few tips that will help you be generous without inviting disaster.
David Amuaalua, a structural engineer who plans to visit Victoria Falls with friends this year explains that planning helps one to allocate assignments in the respective places in terms of how much they need, what they are going to spend where and how much they need to save up to avoid being broke after the vacation. “The other thing is that we live in a vast world one would not be able to cater for arrears that are unforeseen also. You might get sick along the way and you also have a family, upon return from the vacation you need to support your family, therefore, it is worth considering all these,” he says.
Financial planning is just important for one to be on the secured side, so that you don’t go out and over spend.
The right time to start planning
David says that it depends on the type of vacation that one is planning on taking. “Some people travel in groups, some travel individually while others travel with their families. If you will be going as a group, it is best that you start planning altogether to be on the safe side, and have each one contribute a certain amount each month. However, planning for a vacation that is far away might take a year or two,” narrates David.
David explains that the budget should be done depending on one’s destination, whatever place you plan on going he says it is best to call and find out the charges also having to consider the duration that you would want to stay there. He says that if you own a car it is best to calculate how much fuel you will need to drive to that place or if you will be renting a car, you need to find a reliable car to rent out as well as food.
“Those are things that would tell you how much you will need for a particular vacation and if you are a lot, some places do give discounts. Finding out where you are going, how far it is and how long you are going to stay will help you determine how much you will be needing for your vacation. Sometimes it might be that it will be too expensive and it will give you the chance to opt for another destination,” says David.
He also advises people to not neglect their families when planning for vacations saying that vacations do not last forever but rather a once-off thing but family will always be there. He says that it is important to check one’s finances and cut short where it is necessary. “Family will always be family and you never know, you might find yourself in a situation. You do not need to cut off your family.”
It is advisable to look for a trip that suits you well and is sufficient enough within the price range that you have planned as well as your current expenditures including rent, TV payments and so forth. “Saving is more important than your expenses,” urges David.
Holidays are a wonderful time to entertain, but a little planning and budgeting can help you avoid financial headaches. It is wise to plan well ahead of time to ensure that everything is in place before you take off to your vacation destination.