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Christmas Day 2022 is here. First, Village Voice News extends best wishes for a joyous day and a happy season to all our readers, advertisers, and partners. May we all have a successful 2023, too.
The festive season — which extends from around November of each year to January — is often financially challenging. While, by today, most people would have already spent too much money on presents, clothing, decorations, fancy food and so on — not to mention those big screen TVs — it is never too late to take control of our financial behaviour. We must bear in mind that life goes on after the holidays; we will need money next year. We must be mindful that January 2023 will soon be here and we may need to do some financial recovery during the new year if we have overspent during the season.
The pressure to overspend money during the festive season is quite understandable. Celebrating the season is, after all, part of our culture. Frankly, we feel different. Excitement is in the air. And we are tempted to overspend. So, how can we avoid breaking the bank during the holidays?
Financial experts have some recommendations that may help us to have better control of our financial situation during the season.
First, have a spending limit. In other words, make a budget. This would involve deciding how much money we can afford to spend, and deciding what we will spend it on. How much we will spend on presents; travel; food; and so on. Also, the budget should be detailed. For example, we should write down how much we want to spend on each present for each particular person.
Second, use credit wisely. Of course having the ability to purchase items on credit can come in handy, but it can also cause problems later. Credit can be tempting because we don’t have to pay right away, but eventually payment will be due, and if the money is not there, what will be the consequences?
Additionally, we need to remember that with credit, paying interest is usually involved. Therefore, taking items on credit should definitely be carefully considered; the pros and cons must be weighed diligently.
Third, stay organised. This means that we need to plan, and we must stick to the plan. In the modern world of online shopping, it is easy to lose sight of the plan and the budget. As such, staying organised is key to responsible spending during the season.
Eventually, the season will be over and the decorations will be taken down, the excesses of the holidays will catch up with us. Those excesses may include overspending. And, Guyanese like to say that January is “hard guava month.” And that may be more true than we want to admit. So, if we had overspent, what can we do about it; how can we recover?
First, get a clear picture of how much was spent on the festivities. This includes credit. By having a clear idea, it will be possible to plan a recovery.
Second, look for ways to cut down on spending. If you don’t need something, don’t buy it. If you can cut down some expenses or bills, work towards that.
Third, set a debt payoff timeline. That is, review your income and expenses, and decide on the earliest date that you can pay off your holiday debt. And stick to that date.
Fourth, make a resolution never to overspend again, and stick to that.
Again, Village Voice News wishes all Guyanese a happy season and a prosperous New Year.