Budget to prevent ‘Januworry’
12 December 2018| 04 Rabi ul Aakhir 1440| Najma Bibi Noor Mahomed
December is not just the time we get to spend with family but it is also a time to spend ON family. With companies dishing out bonuses the month usually sails by without a budget. But is that the right approach?
Experts believe that having a budget is necessary even when there is some extra cash to spare. One of the biggest challenges with December is not being able to account for whether an item is a need or a want.
One of the easiest ways to understand this is to make a list of the items you think you may need. For instance if you spent the whole year eyeing a brand new dining room set then go for it provided it is worth the money you have set aside.
However when you go to purchase this item and find yourself getting carried away with additional items then take a step back and re-assess why you actually set out to purchase the item in the first place.
Now the other factor that always seems to add sour grapes to a relationship is when one partner accuses the other partner of being lavish. Let’s get one thing straight, relationships also need to have financial partnerships. Even if one spouse is the breadwinner the other should be a lot more hands on with expenditure.
So before you start pointing fingers saying ‘he spends money all the time’ or ‘she raises the debt on the credit card’ start by identifying the role you play in your partnership. Are you the one that is the saver while your partner is the spender?
Once you speak to yourself and identify what you are, you can then see how you influence the relationships finances. If you are the spender and your partner is the saver, you need to take a step back and re-evaluate how you can cut back and adopt a new strategy.
If you are the saver then start by communicating with your partner. Get them on the same page as you. By doing this you can share your goals with them. If you are saving towards something allow them to see those goals too.
Coming back to the aptly named ‘silly season’, if you are lucky to get a bonus this time of the year then I’m sure you already have a mental list of all the things you want to buy. With that being said, experts have encouraged ensuring that you have a budget to make the bonus spending spree fruitful.
Now while December is the month of over-indulgence, we should not lose focus that most companies pay out early and the next pay day which is in January is a long stretch. Most financial advisers say that once you receive your bonus try not to touch it until the new year. However, after all those long hours and weeks at your desk or on the road for the company, it just seems so difficult to not splurge.
Perhaps start by the age old adage ‘is my desire a want or a need’? Once you establish that, it makes it easier to monitor your spending. Prioritize all the essentials needed not just for December, but for the new year too. Look at sorting out school fees, stationary and uniform before the bonus disappears. These should take priority.
While spending is the order of the day during this period, try to set aside atleast 10% of your bonus in a savings account. This way you can continue to add on throughout the year in smaller instalments.
When you are budgeting for the month make sure you also allocate a budget for petrol and travel. In the past few months we have seen the cost of petrol rising. Keeping a budget for petrol will help you in terms of reducing unnecessary spending.
A few ways to reduce unnecessary spending:
-As far as possible try to get your shopping done in one go as opposed to making multiple trips to the mall. This prevents the temptation of buying things you don’t need.
-Doing limited shopping rounds also prevent the use of your car hence cutting your petrol cost.
-Instead of eating out every other night try creating fun family nights at home getting the whole family involved in meal making. So even if it’s pizza night or sushi night get the whole family to be hands on and creative in making meals.
-If you are planning an outing try to look at places that don’t really have individual entrance fees per person. If there is an outing that calls for this make sure you have budgeted for this in advance.
-We have some beautiful picnic spots in South Africa, so why not pack a basket with delicious treats and head out with the kids to enjoy summer.
In the end, don’t let money issues get you down. Proper budgeting, spending and saving are the keys to a stress-free December. So start now if you haven’t already to budget and plan your finances. It’s one of the ways to ensure you don’t have a ‘Januworry’ to forget.
WRITTEN BY: NAJMA BIBI NOOR MAHOMED
Najma Bibi Noor Mahomed is a journalist currently producing and hosting the afternoon show On The Pulse. Formally from Durban and having lived in both Cape Town and now Johannesburg has given her deep insight into people. Najma uses her experience with the different communities to write up dramatic sketches. In her spare time she reads memes and cooks up a storm.