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Surviving The Silly Season

Before the Halloween decorations are removed, fake Christmas trees, and gold and silver balls will be decorating the shopping malls

It may seem premature to be talking about the festive season, but at the end of this month it will be only 54 days before two-thirds of South Africans will celebrate Christmas. Even communities that do not celebrate Christmas will take part in the festive season and join the spending spree.

Each year the push to start Christmas sales seems to get earlier and earlier; there is even a term to describe it. Like Christmas Creep, which “is a merchandising phenomenon in which merchants and retailers exploit the commercialized status of Christmas by moving up the start of the holiday shopping season”.

Clean out what you don’t need and let the money in:

The Christmas season officially begins with Advent between November 27 and December 3, and lasts through Christmastide, which officially starts December 25 and lasts 12 days. However most retailers start marketing Christmas merchandise towards the end of October, in an attempt to boost their revenues by tapping into your pocket earlier – although it’s not clear whether this strategy is actually successful.

The good news is that you can turn this early Christmas onslaught by retailers to your advantage:

Start to buy your gifts and non-perishable items over the next two months. You get to avoid the last minute Christmas rush and spread the cost burden. If you are going on holiday book your trip and pay the deposit. Calculate a budget for your holiday and start saving towards it. Cash in loyalty rewards to buy gifts. Remember with Own Your Life Rewards you get upfront discounts at participating retailers.
When you hit the shops, go with a list and just enough cash to buy what’s on the list. Lock the store cards away.
Eat a good meal at home, so you are not tempted to spend money on take-aways or extra food at the supermarket. Studies also show that we make better financial decisions when we are not hungry.

Beware of promotions or sales that draw you into a store you never planned on entering. Usually there are never sales items in your size, but it leads you to make other purchases or buy something you don’t need because “it’s a bargain”.
Don’t fall for the “buy now pay later” in-store promotions for store cards. New debt is not part of your long-term financial plan. You don’t want to be paying for the gift months after the memory of giving it has faded.

Leaving a legacy:

This would be considered for any amount of money that would place your dependants in a better position to fend for themselves in the long run. Most people would like to be remembered when they are no longer there. Insurance products have traditionally met this need through ensuring that debts can be paid off or investments can be built up.

Contact us today to speak to one of our Financial Advisers for a free consultation. +27 14 594 2388