It is that time of the year again which is notorious for extreme household budget cuts and monetary constraints as an aftermath of overspending during the Christmas holidays, which for many is an annual event.
During the noisy and colourful festive season, a lot of impulse purchases were made in the form of foods, clothes, gadgets and travel and it is at the time that prices are extremely inflated but consumers still go crazy despite this. It is extremely easy to get caught up in the material trappings of the holiday season because the holidays are about expressing yourself and showing love for friends and loved ones through outrageous and often over-the-top purchases.
Finance guru and Executive Secretary of the Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM), Maria Machaillo Ellis offered advice.
“Batswana need to get in to the habit of saving.”
Ellis further stated that people should not be under the impression that they need to save large chunks of their salaries but rather small portions per month, as little as 5 percent, which will grow to a significant amount of money when the festive season kicks in.
Another saving mechanism Ellis pointed out was the “Motshelo” initiative where money is raised by a group of people then lent out to others and earns interest in the process and the proceeds are then shared among the group at the end of the year.
Ellis also indicated that to avoid impulse and irresponsible purchases, consumers can do their shopping of the year and take advantage of monthly sales and specials since during the festive season prices are hiked knowingly by the entrepreneurs.
Upon arrival from the holidays the start of a new year for many merely means being thrown in to the deep end of the back-to-school frenzy that requires extra and necessary expenses which is why Ms Ellis suggests that people should desist from dragging the holiday’s way beyond Christmas as a means of avoiding overspending.
Apart from the presents, food and clothing, a lot of people use the festive season as the time to travel to various tourist destinations, which requires money for transport and accommodation.
During this season, however, prices are doubled and sometimes tripled considering the traffic of tourists that the service providers cash in on and consumers pay more than they need to. Whereas if one waits just a few months, they could take time off work and use that time to travel at sane rates.
“Avoid unnecessary pressure to over eat, spend, drink and travel and you will start the year on a more positive note,” said Ellis.