It’s easy to lose sight of your goals during the holiday season. With so much free time, we fill up these spaces with activities that more often than not cost money. We spend time shopping, eating out, and indulging in other forms of enjoyment. This, in itself, is not a bad thing. Not at all. However, when you start spending money in a way that was not budgeted for, this is where the problem comes in.
Holidays are a great time and you should most definitely enjoy them to the fullest. Even so, here are 5 ways to avoid buying things mindlessly over the holiday season:
1. Think of the bigger picture
Visualise where you will be in the next couple of months. Will you be happy with the way you spent your money? Most employed people earn their salaries in mid-December which are supposed to take them through to the end of January. To make it even worse, January comes with a lot of responsibilities for parents whose children are going back to school. You should keep these things in mind as you spend money in December.
If you must, lock your money in a temporary savings account so that you don’t have access to it. Think of the bigger picture and how much the future will thank you for your discipline.
2. Set a budget
We’ve heard of the concept of budgeting over and over again, and some of us try to make and stick to one. A budget helps you to have a clearer understanding of your goals and what you want for your future. It gives you the clarity to make decisions that will help you. So beyond just setting the budget, stick to it.
Look at how much you can comfortably spend on each item – travel, gifts, food, and decorations. If the numbers aren’t lining up, what changes and/or sacrifices need to be made. You need to establish a budget around what you can spend in December and still have money to run you through the first month of the following year.
3. Beware of retail tricks
December comes with a number of offers which more often than not look extremely attractive. Sometimes when you actually sit down and calculate, the numbers don’t add up, and you are in fact not saving on anything. Retailers trick you by putting gigantic sale signs even when the items are not actually less than the usual price.
Being aware of retail tricks is important to make sure you only spend what you had planned to spend. In most cases, it is difficult to stick to your budget because retail stores are very good at getting you to part with your money. They offer discounts which, when you think about it, are not saving you much. Be on the lookout for these, and use your calculators and budget to see if the products are worth spending on.
4. Use cash
Using cash as opposed to credit cards or other digital money platforms is a great way to instil discipline in yourself. Why? Because when you carry the exact amount of cash you need you are less likely to spend beyond your means. As reliable as the world’s financial technology, sometimes you need to use cash to save money. So when you leave the house you need to have cash, and leave all your credit or debit cards back at home. Discontinue your mobile banking if possible.
5. Organise group volunteering
The holidays are a great time to give back to the community. During this period we have a lot of free time and rather than always spending time on fun and leisure, group volunteering is a great way to be together, and yet still help the world to become a better place.
Your friends probably struggle with overspending as much as you do over the holidays. Give them the relief of forgoing buying gifts for you by organizing a group volunteer day instead. 6 Ways To Give Back During The Holiday Season