How to spend during festive season
Published On November 30, 2022 » 1010 Views» By Times Reporter » Business
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AS November comes to a close, we cross over into December, the most loved month of the year. It’s the month of hit songs, love, Christmas holidays and fireworks – the only month of the year when even Manchester United fans are genuinely happy.
While December is known to be a month of joy, its activities are often responsible for the sorrow that follows in January. The headaches of school fees, road tax, insurance, rent etc. What never gets odd though is the fact that right at the beginning of the year; we all know that there will be a festive season at the end of it. Surely, we can plan ahead of time to avoid being under pressure every January.
Seeing that we are already here, today’s article will not dwell on how to plan for the festive season but rather on how you and I can spend wisely to avoid falling into the usual trap of a challenging January. So how can you defeat the music this holiday?
Here are a few spending tips to help you survive and yet still have some fun this holiday season;

  1. Do not compete. This is perhaps the most important rule. When it comes to money matters, never compete with anyone or with anything. Most Zambians have a love affair with appearing rich and this tends to lead to the cancerous habit of unplanned borrowing. Your friends and neighbors may have nicer cars, newest technology or take expensive vacations but that does not mean you have to do it too. Only do and buy what is within your means. Someone once said, “Do not spend your capital in order to compete with those who are spending their profits”. Comparing yourself to others and trying to do everything that others are doing will leave you limping come January. Know your financial limitations, stick to your budget and do not lose sight of your financial goals.
  2. Separate wants and needs.
    I know I have spoken about this a number of times already on this platform and guess what, today is not the last time you will hear it. Knowing how to distinguish between wants and needs is very cardinal for you to successfully live within your means. The trick is always to attend to needs first before you can spend on wants. Human wants are unlimited so regardless of how many millions you have, you will still find yourself with wants you cannot gratify. School fees, school uniforms, school books and utility bills are needs – prioritize them. We all know that these needs will have to be attended to soon, so it is important for you to set aside finances for all these needs and ensure that you do not touch that money during the parte after parte period. If need be, commit to smiling a little this festive season in order to smile brighter in January.
  3. Know your income and expenses. This is very important for every person who wants to adjust their lifestyle in order to live within their means. A number of people literally have no idea how much money they have on a monthly basis and how much they spend. Not knowing your income and your expenses leads to unplanned spending and makes you prone to spend above your income. Knowing your income and expenses on the other hand helps you to be aware of your financial limits and enlightens you on what areas you can reduce expenditure on. Do not bow to pressure from your friends, family or neighbors – even when they crown you with a crown of their expectations. Know your means and live within them.
  4. Track your expenses.
    This is the last tip on how to live within your means this holiday season. Track your expenses and cut down on all expenses that put unnecessary pressure on you. I once shared on this platform how to categorize your expenses and I also mentioned how to identify the expenses that can easily be adjusted on your budget. I called such expenses discretionary expenses and luxury expenses. These are normally expenses that you can easily adjust and do without. Tracking your expenses can be very beneficial in helping you to live within your means. It can be likened to a fuel gauge that shows you how much money you have used and how far or near you are to having an empty wallet.
    The aim of living within your means should not only be to spend less, it should be to allow you to save and invest the money you save in order to boost your income so that in future you can afford the things you cannot afford today.
    Life is not a competition, and people do not succeed at the same time, or same rate, so never put pressure on yourself. Be financially smart, live a life that is commensurate with your financial ability.
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