With the rising cost of living, and the festive season around the corner, personal finance management is becoming an increasingly top-of-mind priority for South Africans. Andile Jonas, head of marketing at Momentum Financial Planning, offers these financial hacks to help consumers survive the festive season without breaking the bank and be deliberate about how they spend their money. He also offers a few ideas on how you can save money along the way.
Host potluck style
Potluck refers to a communal gathering where each guest or group contributes a different, often homemade, dish to be shared.
“Dining out can be very expensive − especially if you’re hosting friends and relatives over the December period. Ask your guests to chip in and you’ll find entertaining infinitely less expensive. It can also bring some celebratory creativity to the table, as each guest offers a food choice unique to their tastes,” says Andile.
Buy gifts ahead of time
You don’t have to wait until a week or two before Christmas to go shopping. Andile says he often picks up gifts throughout the year, to make sure these items aren’t a big expenditure in December.
“Both birthday and Christmas gifts should be bought throughout the year − especially if you spot something you know your loved one will be crazy about. Mid-year sales, or even early January sales, are a good time to shop for gifts if you can afford it. Keep them stashed away in the back of your cupboard and update a list of who you still need to shop for throughout the year to minimise expenses in December,” says Andile.
Save throughout the year
The age-old advice of relying less on any kind of debt shouldn’t be lost during the silly season. Saving throughout the year can also go a long way in ensuring your December spending doesn’t get out of control.
“Reduce your debt, starting with that dreaded credit card. Avoid undoing any ground gained by setting money aside in your monthly budget for your December holidays. Even if it’s R500 that you put into a 30-day account, this can be a welcome nest egg when the festive season rolls around,” says Andile.
Prioritise your wants and needs
Saving becomes infinitely easier when you have a reminder of what you are working towards.
“Draw up a list of the top five to 10 items you most need to pay for during the year. This list will make it easier to remember why you are setting aside money each month. Whether you want to make sure you are able to pay your children’s school fees by January, or you want to go on a luxury holiday, this list – and even the act of physically writing these priorities down on paper – can help keep you focused on your bigger financial goals throughout the year,” says Andile.
Maximize on your reward schemes
There are several reward schemes that consumers can make use of. Multiply, Momentum’s rewards and wellness programme, has partners that South Africans have shown a real affinity towards, such as Pick n Pay and Dis-Chem.
“We want to make it easy and practical for multiply members to save. The more active and engaged you are with multiply, the more you will save with our partners,” says Andile.
“Make the most of savings and the cashback rewards you are entitled to. Be conscious about where your money goes and optimise every saving opportunity that comes your way,” concludes Andile.