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"When you are used to getting paid between the 25th and 30th of the month and suddenly you get paid on the 15th or the 20th, January will be the longest month in your calender", says John Manyike, Head of Financial Education at Old Mutual. Manyike explains that people have to try to survive for about 6 weeks which requires a lot of discipline.
The idea of overcoming the December fever can be hard but, you need to have a festive season budget and stick to it. Always be mindful of Back- to- School expenses and debts that must be prioritised before over spending. "Spend what is left if you have money to spend, in essence your spending needs to be planned and you should remain committed to your budget," John advises.
January is generally a tough month for most people and this is primarily due to a lack of planning and the refusal to live within one's means.
"The reality is that when we overspend during December our debt obligations remain, and as expected debit orders will bounce because of "insufficient funds" in the account. As a short-term measure, consumers may approach a lender to make up for the short-fall, but this only piles on the debt and makes the situation even worse," says Manyike.
Strategies to stop you from spending
John states that South Africa has a poor culture of saving and consumers need to start thinking long term. It's very important to find ways to manage your money long-term because this cuts down on all the unnecessary things that you can do without. "It can take several months to recover from debt incurred over the festive season, and that's not a place you want to find yourself in, during the new year", says John.