How to Spend in December for a Happy 2017

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Why is it that ‘Happy Birthday Jesus’ season is always quickly followed by all our sensibilities about money going out the window? December is such a magical time of the year and not in the sense that we have lights and carols and what not but because we suddenly develop super myopia where money is concerned. For those of us that are paid early, this means that we spend January money in December and inevitably, January ends up having a million and five days. Horror. A friend of mine requested this article and I honestly didn’t know what to advise at first. I, too, fall into that December trap every year. Still, we have to make a fair attempt, right? Here’s what I did and I hope it helps you too.

Do not forgo the budget

Something about the end of the year makes us believe that we don’t have to budget anymore. Getting paid for the next year early makes think we don’t have to account for January when that’s when we need it the most. You have to budget for December so you know exactly what your ‘Treat yo’self’ budget actually has. Then you need to go a step further and budget for January. Where possible, make advance payments and set up standing orders if you need to. Trust me, future you will thank you. It’s hard to do but if you pay off everything you should, you can have a guilt free December (spending money intended for December).

Opt for the cheap plans

Barbecue at a friends house where you do a potluck and BYOB (bring your own bottle), a games night with a couple of friends or even a movie night in are all fabulous plans in December when most people are on leave and thus have the time. Plans that involve other people contributing and are low key are such a great way to have fun during the festive season. They are low pressure and always turn out to be unexpectedly fun. Of course, don’t host a million get-togethers and if you do, make sure everyone chips in fair and square.

Chant the mantra

Say it with me, ‘I do not have extra money, this is money for January’. Repeat it until it sticks. Put money away in your Mshwari and lock it until the new year or even halfway through January. Whatever you do, do not spend it. Whatever you do, do not borrow for the new year. It would suck to begin like that. Pay all your bills and debtors. Drink the cheaper version of the Chardonnay you love in the house instead of at a bar. You don’t have extra money – do not make it rain! (Do people still say this?)

Buy gifts that matter

I generally don’t buy things for people over Christmas because it’s just not a thing for me. But maybe you’re one of those who like to show people a little gratitude this time of the year. Make wise spending choices. Have a foodie friend? Why not pick up a potted herb for them? Most of those little pots go for 200/- Kes. Want to treat a friend? Make an adventure of an early morning movie at IMAX and then have a cup of coffee after. Little ones hanging about? Make little bunches of goodie bags with a few sweets (a bag of KSL sweets is 100 Kes). Get creative and save yourself some money.

Here’s the thing about all this advice – it’s stuff you already know. All I am doing is reminding you that you have the options. After the nightmarish 2016, don’t you want to start a new year doing things right?


Happy holidays!


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