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    Budgeting for the holidays

    The January blues. Many of us have experienced it, that period of depression during the first month of the year because we have exhausted most of our money while enjoying the Christmas season and payday is weeks away. Not to mention, we got our salaries early in December too. Every year, we promise ourselves that we will not be in that situation the next time January comes around, but, unfortunately, we do. Let us break the chain with a different approach. This year, let us think of ways we can spend our money over the holidays and still avoid the post-Christmas no money blues. Here are a few ideas.


    A fallacy is that the more expensive a gift is, the greater it will be appreciated. On the contrary, a gift that meets the personal taste of a family member or friend will be received with much more glee. So, before we go on our shopping spree, let us first write down the names of the people we want to give gifts to and think about things they like that could be economical presents. So, if Paul, for example, likes to wear fancy patterned coloured socks, he would certainly love new sets for his collection, and that would not put a major dent in the wallet.


    This festive season offers many events to attend. Going out is all part of the Christmas tradition. There are many free shows or very affordable community programmes. Be vigilant. Go through the events column in the newspaper to find out what is happening and where.


    It may be too late to implement this idea, but we can keep it in mind for next year. Instead of waiting for December to purchase all our gifts and other non-perishable items, buying them throughout the year will ease the spending demands of the season, leaving us with more cash when the celebration is over.


    Before we begin to shop, let’s write down a plan on how much we should sensibly spend during the season and on what items. Have a ceiling on spending and commit to stay within the budget.


    Hey! If any of us are good at baking or at making traditional Christmas drinks, giving our friends gifts from our kitchens may thrill them much more than store-bought items. This personal touch could be a great saving activity and it gives the feeling that we really thought about them too.
    Those are a few ways we can save during the season. Can you think of other ways?