How to avoid overspending this holiday season

Sunday, November 16, 2014

With the holiday season around the corner, many of us are already considering what gifts to buy for Christmas, which hotel to stay in, and what sites to visit. While this may seem very exciting, all of it costs money – and with prices rising due to the peak season, it can be extremely easy to overspend.

According to Wikus Olivier, debt counsellor at DebtSafe, it is crucial that individuals think twice about spending decisions, especially during the holiday season. “Often, we tend to get carried away over this period, splashing out on expensive treats as we spoil ourselves after the long year. However, without a proper plan set in place, one can quickly go overboard and blow the budget.”


Olivier recommends the following tips to help individuals avoid overspending this holiday season:

Have a plan

Festive shopping often leaves us tempted to ‘break’ our budget rules. Having a plan in place, alongside a list of your holiday needs and wants, will add structure and assist you in sticking to your allocated spend.

Set a budget in place

Trying to keep up with family and friends can often mean that you spend far more than you can afford. Knowing exactly how much money you can spend over the holiday season, and where it is being allocated, will allow you to keep on track throughout the festivities.

Manage expectations

Once you have a plan in place and have set a budget, sit down with your partner or family and tell them about your spending plans. Explain how you allocated each amount if need be. This will help you - and them - to avoid disappointment concerning gifts and expectations.

Start early

Along with the holiday season often comes the inflation of prices. Purchasing gifts or paying for getaways in advance can often work out cheaper than taking action at the last minute. Many outlets tend to reduce prices after the holiday season to flush remaining stock – purchasing throughout the year in preparation for the festive season may also be a good idea for next year.

Sales are your friend

This may seem obvious, but sales can help you save money in the long run. It may mean adjusting your gift list and buying alternative gifts; however, this can also allow you more spend in your overall festive budget.

Swear off credit cards

When we can’t afford something we really want, we often turn to the ‘services’ of our credit cards. Try to make it a rule of thumb to only purchase items in cash, especially during the festive season. If you cannot afford it in cash, then you should not buy it at all.

“All of us look forward to the holiday season, wanting to make the most of the experience with our family and friends. However, doing so without planning ahead can leave us in more debt leading into the year ahead. Implementing the above tips into our holiday experience will ensure that we have a stress-free, and importantly, debt-free festive season,” concludes Olivier.


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