PSSSST…CAN anyone send me a C-note? I promise I’ll give it back month end. No? No one? Okay, well I’m not too surprised as January is without a doubt the toughest month financially for MOST after we have splurged in excess during the Christmas season. (By the way, I was just joking about the cash request so you can stop reading this with your eyebrows raised questioningly)
We somehow fall into that trap every year, don’t we?! And like a stubborn mule, we just don’t seem to learn from the pervious year.
We save up for the entire year…some of us even pile up on our points from the supermarket only to go and spend it all on gifts, clothing and shoes for festivities, new gadgets and gizmos, expensive upgrades to our household, and who can leave out the grocery list of everything delicious and boozy?!
By the time we’re done, we make ourselves sick thinking about the month of January before the end of December.
Now please note, I said MOST at the beginning of this piece because I know that quite a few people spend their monies wisely and don’t fall into the traps of the season.
Today, I’m not speaking to these people because they have their A-game in full swing and are on top of things, most probably feeling pretty good about themselves right now…and so they should.
No, I’m speaking to the masses who, despite knowing that we are in tough economic times, decide to ignore the signs and focus on the short term good time only to cry later.
You know what they say, YOLO (You Only Live Once) right? Life is short so enjoy it while you can, right?
If this is how you think then this piece is not for you either;move along quickly before life passes you by.
To anyone interested, here are a few tips to help you avoid the same pitfalls in 2016:
• Most people are lucky enough to receive their salaries at least one week before Christmas and to top it off, many are blessed even further with a bonus where they get a little extra money as a gift from their respective employers. Before the dollar signs in your heads take over your senses and you run to the nearest mall, pause for a minute and think of the end of December and the month of January. The bills and responsibilities will still be there and they will not hear “I’ll pay you when I can” or “Give me just a few more weeks”. Try paying your month end bills and take care of your responsibilities before all the money is gone and then enjoy what is left…your minds will be at total ease whilst others are running around like crazy ants trying to figure out how they are going to keep the lights on.
• Stop hanging your hats too high trying to impress people. Everyone wants to look the part and fit in and one can agree that around this time of year, people, along with their children, house and everything else, is nicely spruced up, but at the end of the day, you are the ones losing and looking like a fool when you spend all your savings on new curtains, carpets, table and chair sets, electronics and prize turkeys, all for the purpose of giving visitors something to marvel at (or perhaps even envy) for one or two days and then when the dust is settled, the only things left in your wallet or purse is a moth or a cockroach…don’t do it. Live and spend within your means because those people whom you are trying to impress are not the ones paying your salary and will most probably gossip about and laugh at you when you’re down and out. Let them call you cheap…heck, embrace the title but at the end of the day, you’re still eating, right?
• Cut down on your water and electricity consumption. Check that no tap is leaky whether it be in the backyard or your toilet tank…the slowest and tiniest drip adds up and will increase your water bill. Where electricity is concerned, and this is the big money saver, turn off lights and appliances when they’re not in use. The TV, phone charger, computer, radio set, microwave, etc, all of these appliances consume energy if left on so turning them off at the switch will make a big dent…a good dent that is, in your bill. When you leave the house, the fridge is pretty much the only thing that needs to be on so apart from that, do a sweep around your house and turn of everything at the switch.
• Stop walking around with your credit and debit cards as well as large amounts of cash. When you’re out and about, you will be tempted and you will use the money seeing that it’s at your disposal. If you have plans on going shopping, plan a budget and walk with the required amount of money. When you do this and the money is finished, that will be your queue to stop spending and go home.
• When shopping, create a list before leaving your house, window shop and don’t be too embarrassed to ask for discounts. It really is self explanatory, when you do this kind of precise shopping, you tend to stick to your budget and avoid impulse shopping, you spend less with discounts and by looking around before buying the first product that you spot, you get to compare prices and walk away with the best deal. (As an extra tip, if clothes shopping, always look for the sale items. Unless the items are shoddy, it never hurts to wear the trend that some might consider “So Yesterday”…remember, you are the ones feeling the strain financially so buy what you can afford and save where you can)
• Cook your own meals for work. Instead of spending $15-$20 on a meal five days a week, invest in a lunch bag and with that same $20, you can buy food to cook that could last you nearly one week. I know that the smell of KFC or that restaurant with the fresh local food might be too much to refuse but fight it, your bank account will thank you.
• Buy non perishables in bulk. When you do this, then it’s ultimately cheaper and you can put the stress of running to the nearest supermarket or neighbourhood shop every few days.
• Finally from me, associate yourselves with like minded people. You could attempt all what I just said but if every one that you surround yourself with are spendthrifts or posh individuals who MUST have the latest and most expensive trends as well as go to all the latest events etc, your attempt will be in vain because you will feel left out and will most probably bend under the peer pressure. Hang around with friends and family who respect your way of life and will actually work towards keeping you in check so that you stick to your plan.
There you have it people, I just gave you my best advice. By no means are you obliged to take it and if you know any other methods then go right ahead but whatever you choose to do, just be moneywise.