How to spend less this Easter and still have a fabulous time
By John Kariuki
| Apr 17th 2014 | 3 min read
By John Kariuki
Kenya: This year’s Easter holiday comes this weekend. And as is customary, many people will take leave of their financial senses and overspend, the consequences of which are likely to derail them from their financial goals.
What with a long weekend break from work extending from Good Friday to Easter Monday? In fact, Alcoblow tests on motorists and the Mututho Law that prescribes the drinking hours will, incidentally, save many Kenyans from losing their hard-earned cash and even their lives this Easter.
But unless your employer gives you a bonus payment this Easter, don’t incur debt in the name of festivities.
Certainly, there are school fees staring at you in May and perhaps a Form Four leaver who needs to pursue college education. So, the ultimate money sin that you can commit is taking Sacco and bank overdrafts or a salary advance to finance your Easter spending!
A hidden but pervasive extra cost to Easter spending is the near-mandatory family gathering! This social novelty can easily see your holiday’s budget ballooning out of control. Often, many people do not stick at one Easter holiday destination and travel their counties extensively, to ‘greet’ their extended kin and all this has an extra and hidden cost such as fuelling the car and the ‘shopping’.
Needless to say, there are scores of Kenyans who find themselves in the midst of drinking crowds every day from Friday to Monday in contravention of Easter’s meaning and then wonder what hit them financially for the remainder of the year!
Anne Wanjohi, a personal banker with one of the successful financial institutions in the country, says that while it is good to celebrate with friends and family, memorable holidays can be both frugal and festive with a little planning.
“By planning and going off the beaten path of some holiday traditions, you will discover that less can actually be more,” she says.
As part of the planning, Wanjohi advises people to anticipate their entire Easter holiday spending and gift giving quite early.
“List all the possible gifts that you expect to buy and their estimate prices and stick to your plan,” she says.
It is a bargain to look out for shops with sales clearances and to pay in cash, she adds.
With a little imagination, Easter entertainment can be affordable, she says.
“People can simply drive around town or a game park with their friends and families or visit homes of the disadvantaged,” she says. “By sitting around an outdoor fire in the village and catching up with your family members over a late night barbecue, the holiday cost can be greatly cut in a refreshing way,” she adds.
Nicholas Mwangi, a Nairobi hotelier, says buying an animal and slaughtering it at home over the Easter holiday is much cheaper than eating out.
“You can serve a greater number of people this way besides preparing the meat to your guests’ specifications,” says Mwangi.
He quantifies that Sh6,000 is enough to buy a fair-sized goat and to prepare the side-dishes to accompany it and this can serve up to 20 people.
“But taking a similar number of guests out would cost anything upwards of Sh20,000 at the most competitively priced outlets,” he says.
Mwangi advises people who are planning to slaughter animals this Easter to buy or place orders for them early to avoid the last minute scarcity of animals and price hikes.
If you want to travel, make arrangements early.
He advises people who wish to travel over the Easter holiday to make arrangements quickly owing to the ban on night travel.
“It is always a bargain to book a return ticket early,” says Mwangi. The advantage of booking early is that you have time to investigate many travel alternatives to see which ones meet your pocket and family sensibilities,” he says.
Mwangi advises people who wish to travel to holiday destinations to explore group tours as this saves money.
“In such arrangements, people can easily share transport and accommodation costs,” he says. Some resorts have arrangements where group tours can put up in low priced cottages or camping sites within house meals or they can prepare their own meals, he adds.
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