Gofaone Nina Tladi
There are eight weeks left until 1 January 2019! I know this because it is my favourite time of the year. It is the time of year when I buy anything my heart desires, recklessly abandoning my financial sense and making my slowly decent into the financial demise that is January.
I have stayed out of the mall for the most of the year, doing my best to avoid buying stuff I do not need to impress strangers on the internet. I have done quite well with my very strict routine of avoiding a particular mall which has recently revamped, just in time for the spending binge of the festive season. However, this past weekend I went to the mall with a friend. I did my best to write down a list of things I needed to ensure that I did not deviate from it. I allowed myself a larger “entertainment “provision in my November budget. I felt strong as we entered the mall but as we walked around, I got quickly distracted. My friend (who also happens to be my accountability partner) kept me from buying a pricey primer and an entire make up collection. I only bought one extra thing from the list I had made. Though I was happy with my purchases, as the day progressed, I had buyer’s remorse. I am often very hard on myself, particularly when I set goals. I am the girl who used my birthday gift money to pay off a debt, don’t judge me.
My friend saw my plight and gently encouraged me to give myself a break. Getting your financial act together is extremely difficult because any major life change is. I have made bad financial decisions for almost two decades. Though I have realised the need to change, it is a process that will not be completed overnight. When I err, I can forgive myself and get back on track. The point is to give yourself a break and make sure that you always get back on track. As the festive season approaches, there is an aura of spending in the air. I know we will all flock to the mall to swipe our money away but I want us to be more aware of our spending ahead of time. I’m a planner and I love to plan, so I have budgeted accordingly for every wedding, birthday party and impromptu dinners with friends! Getting your financial act together should not be all work and no fun. The extreme may lead us to make terrible choices during this season. Here are some tips to survive the next eight weeks, so that you don’t eat cabbage at the beginning of the year! Though the January memes are very funny, it really is no way to live.
• Track your November salary: We often spend this salary recklessly because we get paid early in December, stick to you salary cycle;
• Use your entire bonus to pay debt/ save: This one is very difficult but if you do this, you will have laid down a great foundation for your finances in 2019. I know a lady who shaved off seven years off her mortgage by using every bonus she received;
• Plan: One of the things I have come to appreciate is planning, though I can’t plan every single thing out, it is important. For example, all the birthdays and weddings dates are set. In addition buy your drinks in bulk, which is cheaper and every time you go for a session, take your bottle of wine. You can limit the amount you spend and drink;
• Boundaries:Peer pressure really knows no age group, from the teenagers to the parents trying to outdo each other for their children’s weddings. Boundaries are very important if we are to achieve our financial goals, learn when to say yes and how to say no in order to take control of your finances. The thing about parties is that everyone will gladly attend and have a good time together but when the music stops, everyone is on their own;
• January is coming: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different response. Let us get off the insanity train of binge spending during the festive season. January is coming people!
As the Christmas trees and décor start to fill every nook and cranny of malls, let us not lose our financial minds. It is a time for family, to reflect on the year that was and most importantly rest.
PS: You don’t have to be a hero, you just have to be what most people aren’t, consistent.