Someone once said:
As Preparations for Christmas begin, don't be so GREEN with envy that you go in the RED buying stuff you don't need, leaving you with the BLUES in January.
January seems to be the longest month in any year. From experience; a lot of people go broke even before December runs to an end; Bearing in mind that most companies pay their staff 13th month salaries, coupled with end of the year bonuses as well as some extras here and there. So why would people go broke and have a hard time living through January?
A particular statistical report says people spend at least 5% in the first 24 hours of being paid, and nearly 15% of an average monthly salary, within 48 hours. Skip forward 11 days and the average person has spent more than half the average salary packet.
Here are 7 points that can make your December earnings last you through the month of January:
1.Try staying in as against going out everyday this Christmas /holiday period.
For those who have made it a habit to go out every weekend also, consider staying in once in a while. Get good movies, cook, invite friends if you want, bake or do something special for you and your family. I can bet you’d save some money. If you have to go out, it shouldn’t be everyday of the holiday period. Invite friends over if you can afford it.
………Avoid the malls…..Because of the rush and the temptation of buying things you don’t even need. Watch out for the promotions too: All the BOGOF deals; you might end up not using the stuffs!
2.Buy in bulk:
If you haven’t done your purchases already, you have just a few hours. Unfortunately because of the Christmas rush, the prices of things would have gone up. Buy in bulk and keep in stock everything that will last till the end of the month of January if possible. By so doing, you won't be concerned that your basic needs cant be met. Don’t forget to write down your list. Buy only things you can afford also.
3. Delay your purchases/shopping /gifts if possible
Isn’t it amazing that prices do crash almost immediately after the yuletide. Who says you have to give hampers right now? You can be creative about it. Why not send out cards now and follow up with gifts much later. Movie /event tickets etc can be other creative ways of gifting people. It’s a wrong time to buy Christmas baskets and hampers!
For those overseas, avoid credit card purchases. Christmas celebrations will come and go and there’ll be so many more to celebrate. Do with what you have; done borrow!
I’d suggest that apart from your regular savings ; which is a suggested 20% , save another 5% or 10 as special savings for the month of January. You can dip into this if you have issues sustaining till the end of the month
Hide the raise: You don’t have to spend your bonuses! Hide them; close your eyes and do as if you didn’t get any. Keep them in savings or as investments.
Business owners don’t spend all you get…….save, invest…..
5. Cook a lot in December/keep for January
Don’t waste anything during this period. Your chicken/turkey leftovers can be shredded for sandwiches in January. Toss in vegetables into the left over stews later. But please avoid throwing food away this season. Start to plan on packing your breakfast/lunch to work.
6. Consider carpooling in January
Look around for a neighbor who works around your office; hitch a ride with them. That saves you some fuel costs in January. You can even alternate cars/driving days. With the prevalent fuel crisis in Nigeria, this is wisdom .
7. Be accountable to somebody this period.
Let there be someone who can call you to order so you don’t overspend. Confide in them about your plans and give them permission to ask you about it from time to time.
FOR ONCE, STRETCH YOUR DECEMBER SALARY AND AVOID GETTING IOUS OR SALARY ADVANCE!
Above all, Give: Don’t forget to give out of what you have received. Some people still have stuffs from hampers of 2013 and 2014. What are you doing with them? Even If you don’t get hampers, make hampers; put a smile on someone’s face. The blessings of a giver can never be over emphasized.
Have a fantastic Christmas celebrations and remember: Jesus is the reason for this beautiful season!
On a daily basis, we feature words of financial wisdom from different Smart Stewards members and sometimes from Guest Contributors. You'd be glad reading them. Enjoy!
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