As the festive season is now upon us, it seems everyone is spending money. With Black Friday deals, Cyber Monday deals, and plenty of pre-Christmas deals flooding our inboxes, how can we avoid over-spending in ‘the most wonderful time of the year’?
Research from Wonga in a festive spending survey revealed that South Africans will each incur an average of R6585 (around £350) in festive expenses this season, which is over and above their usual budgeted expenses. Additionally, from the 6,000 included in the survey 60% revealed they think they’ll spend more this festive season than they did in 2018, despite the tough economic climate. And what will they spend it on? Well, it seems that food and drink takes up 37% of most budgets, followed by gifts, which account for 20%.
Some say they will use savings or Christmas bonuses as a way to afford this. 17% say they will take out a loan, and 11% will use credit cards. However – 50% of the respondents indicated that they dislike the pressure to spend money over the festive season. But what is this pressure, and where did it come from? Why do we all feel we must overspend at this time of year?
According to the Guardian, one of the first steps is understanding your personal relationship to money and spending so you know if you’re likely to lose control. Do you do a lot of your shopping on your phone? Perhaps you can delete some of your shopping apps. Are you tempted when you head out to the mall, to buy extra bits? Perhaps you can go shopping with a friend, so they can talk you out of it. If you fall victim to the pre-Christmas deals that hit your inbox, maybe you can unsubscribe from the company’s emails. Whatever your weakness is, you probably know it, and avoiding the temptation in the first place to overspend will help you dramatically.
The Guardian also advises that you think back to the last few things you have bought; “have any of them made a significant difference to your health and wellbeing?” Will spending that extra money at Christmas really make it a more magical time for you? Also, the immediate ‘high’ that you get from spending money feels great, but those levels of happiness soon return back to normal, and if you have over-spent, you may then feel gloomy about this.
When it comes to overspending money on presents at Christmas time, you might want to speak to family and friends about the expectation of gifts. You may find that they feel the same as you – the pressure to buy gifts and the extra stress of finding the money to afford them. Why not suggest a secret Santa, to help every one of you save money? This may be just what you need to stop the overspending. No one wants to start this conversation, but you’ll probably find they feel the same as you.
In short, if you want to avoid overspending this Christmas, you need to actively control your spending habits, and re-address how you approach Christmas shopping. It can be hard at first, but with support, you can keep a hold of your money and not fall into the trap of excessive spending and debt.