December 25th, Christmas Day, is almost here. Today, it is six days away. Excitement is in the air as both believers and non-believers alike are busy stocking up for the festive season when billions Christians worldwide celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, their Lord and Saviour.
It is usually a double celebration as within six days after Christmas Day the world celebrates New Year’s Day on January 1.
The twin celebration of Christmas Day and New Year offers people an opportunity to reflect on their personal and organisational growth plans. Above all, people go wild shopping, feasting and sharing gifts dominate. In general terms, there is excess spending by consumers during this period.
Well, there is nothing wrong with shopping or merrymaking, I must say. What is critical, though, at the end of the day, is that in whatever way you spend your money you should avoid falling into the trap of impulse-buying.
Impulse buying is when one buys items without planning. This can be avoided by drawing a shopping list and sticking to the same every time you go out shopping. During outings to shopping malls, you should pay “a blind eye” to the ‘Sale’ signs.
Travel for leisure is another main activity during Christmas and New Year’s Day festivities. If you did not budget for holiday trip, please do not make unplanned trips simply because your neighbours or peers are going to the lake. I know of many who make their holiday bookings and payments as early as March, so do not get carried away. Plan.
To cushion their employees from Christmas Day and New Year’s Day festivities, some companies pay bonuses calculated as a percentage of one’s salary or indeed the 13th cheque. If you happen to be one of such lucky souls, use the extra income to clear outstanding debts and invest some for the rainy day. Do not spend like you have been cast with a spell or as if the money is perishable and will go bad.
Thieves also take advantage of the festive holidays, especially where people have travelled out of town. In the home, please ensure that windows and doors are securely closed and properly locked before leaving. Besides, do not entertain strangers masquerading as service providers from utility companies.
Nowadays, commercial banks have spread their automated teller machines (ATM) networks. This gives convenience, but be wary of the surroundings around ATMs before inserting your card to withdraw money. People have been attacked at such places. Make it a point to transact at ATMs located in busy points than quite places, especially when it is too early in the morning or getting darker.
When shopping, buy what you need. Mind your basket or trolley, respect your shopping list. Do not be an impulse buyer who gets carried away by contents of another shopper’s basket.
To those who drive, please drive carefully. Observe prescribed speed limits as it is better to be late than “the late”. Do not drink and drive. Do not text-and-drive. Remember, speed thrills, but also kills.
Passengers on public transport should also keep an eye on their drivers. Your safety is entrusted in them so do not let them text while driving or indeed consume alcoholic beverages while driving.
To many of us, the festive season coincides with other equally pressing demands such as farm inputs, school fees, rentals and indeed holiday travel. Be responsible by planning your expenditure, ensuring that the bills are within means. By all means, avoid living large on borrowed money.
Do not get carried away. Spend wisely, enjoy responsibly this festive season. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2020.