Insights categories - Personal investing
Personal investing

Give yourself the gift of balance this festive season

The festive season is upon us and as much as we all relish letting go, balancing spending and other indulgences with a bit of discipline can go some way to curbing January’s financial hangover.

The festive season hype lures us in. From special deals and discounts to holiday offers, it is very hard to resist temptation. By taking small steps towards changing entrenched habits, you can enjoy the festive cheer without fearing the consequences.

In the wake of what has been a tough year for most of us, with the VAT increase, fuel price hikes and volatile markets, spending more cautiously than usual, and earmarking a portion of any unexpected income for saving, will set you on a steadier course for 2019.   

Below are three tips on how to give yourself the gift of balance this festive season:

1. Have a plan, and be accountable

Put a realistic budget together that accounts for your holiday spending as well as the demands of January. Your budget may also include ways to cut down spending, e.g. using vouchers, looking out for specials on items you may need over the festive season, and group discounts on activities or entertainment.

Consider how much you can afford to spend on groceries, gifts and entertainment on top of your standard monthly outgoings and build in a bit of room for unexpected expenses. Remember that the amount you are comfortable with spending should not be a target – if you spend less than intended, you could consider saving the balance. Careful planning can allow you to exercise financial discipline while still having fun and spoiling your loved ones.

2. Think differently about any windfall

If you are lucky enough to get a bonus or an unexpected windfall, take some time to think about how to maximise it. Consider paying off your debt or contributing to a unit trust or a tax-free investment.

While investing deprives you of some short-term pleasure, it may help to keep in mind that investing is just deferred spending – you put money away to grow so that it can meet your needs in the future. Eventually that money should return to you as spending; delaying your gratification just means that you may have more to spend later.

3. Don’t fall for the shopping spending cues

Clever marketing tricks – both online and at the stores – encourage us to spend. Key retail periods, such as the popular Black Friday, are designed to make you spend more, through targeted deals and with tactics such as ‘mega savings’.

Do your research on whether a deal really is a ‘saving of a lifetime’, or whether it is something that you can do without. When you are shopping instore, be aware of your own behaviour. We subconsciously aim to fill up our shopping baskets without thinking about it – a trolley doubly so. When you’re looking for one or two things don’t pick up a basket.

Spending more may feel inevitable this festive season, but smarter planning and savvy saving can alleviate the pressure. You hold the power to your purse strings; make sure that you come out the other side with a financial benefit, rather than a deficit.

Select a site

The financial services, products or investments referred to on this website are not available to persons resident in jurisdictions where their availability or distribution would contravene local laws or regulations and the information on this website is not intended for use by these persons. This website is for information only and does not in any way constitute a solicitation or offer by Allan Gray Proprietary Limited or any of its associates or subsidiaries (collectively “Allan Gray”) to buy or sell any financial instruments or to provide any investment advice or service.

By selecting one of the countries below I confirm that I have read and understood the above and that:

(a) I am not a South African citizen; or 
(b) I do not reside in the Republic of South Africa; or 
(c) I am not otherwise a person to whom the communication of the information contained in this website is prohibited by the laws of my home jurisdiction; and 
(d) I am not acting for the benefit of any such persons mentioned in (a),(b) and (c) and 
(e) I confirm that any investment with Allan Gray is based on my own initiative and not due to any offer or solicitation by Allan Gray.