Planning for the festive season

NAIROBI: If you are yet to start planning for your holidays, you will be surprised to learn that people who take this season seriously have already rolled out their plans.

They have made hotel bookings, paid for air tickets and some have even planned out elaborate food recipes just to ensure that all will be well come festivity time.

However, if you are yet to lay out your plans, do not worry - it not too late to start, just get on with it so you are not among those people who will be scratching their heads wondering where things went wrong.

“As the festive season draws near, the best starting point is to work out your budget which you do by determining which ares you will be spending your money on?

The commonest expenses will definitely be food, travel, clothes, gifts and perhaps accommodation,” advises Martha Maina, an event organiser working in Nairobi.

According to Martha, identifying the key areas where you intend to spend your money makes you well placed to know how much money you need in total. This information then helps you determine where you will get the money to finance these plans.

“Do not forget to budget for contingencies since the festive season has occurrences that you cannot foresee. You might have surprise visitors coming to your house or have a detour during your outings which results in additional expenses that you had not planned for,” she says.

Also ensure you are working with the correct figures because errors turn out to be very expensive especially when you have under-budgeted. After you have prepared your budget and are confident it will work, decide how much money you will reasonably put aside daily or weekly. Indeed, saving a few hundreds per day can accumulate to a tidy sum in months.

“You, however, must know that saving money comes with some sacrifice and discipline. You may be required to make some adjustments on your family’s budget or lifestyle so that you can save enough money to meet your holiday budget,” Martha says.

Experts advise that as you save, open a bank account specifically for your holiday budget. This will help you keep the money away and you will not be tempted to spend it.

If you have another bank account, you can give your banker standing orders to transfer a given amount of money to your holiday saving account after every given period of time.

According to Martha, once you have saved a substantial amount of money, there are a few items you can buy in advance.

“You can book hotels, buy items like clothes and gifts, among others. Remember, buying and paying for some services during off-peak season is not only hassle free, but can also save you a substantial amount of money,” she says.

Also be on the look out for shops and outlets offering pre-festive season promotions and offers. These promotions often give great deals through discounts, which is a great way of saving your money.

“Ultimately, good planning is key to having a memorable and hassle free festive season. Do not wait until the last minute to start running up and down,” Martha says.

Happy holiday planning everyone!