How to spend wisely during the festive season (Photo: iStock)

The festive season is a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness, often accompanied by increased spending.

From gift-giving to hosting gatherings and indulging in seasonal treats, expenses can quickly add up. However, with mindful planning and strategic approaches, it’s possible to enjoy the festivities without breaking the bank.

According to Rose Ella Ngari, CEO of Vasili Africa who has professional experience in financial literacy, holidays are best planned for from when the year begins.

“By planning and allocating a portion of your monthly budget to a dedicated holiday fund, you can mitigate the financial strain typically associated with year-end celebrations. This proactive strategy not only ensures a more seamless and stress-free holiday season but also fosters a sense of financial responsibility by encouraging consistent savings throughout the year,” said Ella.

Establishing such a plan also allows you to spread out shopping over several weeks, keeping an eye out for deals like discounts, sales, and promotions both online and in stores. Additionally, it reduces stress during the busiest times of the season.

Ella added that the deals that can save your budget can also ruin it when one does not have a budget which aids in outlining the expenses you anticipate, including gifts, decorations, travel, food, and entertainment.


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“Allocate specific amounts to each category, and stick to those limits. Be realistic about what you can afford without jeopardizing your financial well-being. Remember to also do school shopping as early as you can and put aside cash for school fees,” said Ella.

Gift-giving is a significant part of the festive season and can be financially burdensome if not carefully thought out.

Ella encourages people to give personalised gifts that hold sentimental value rather than focusing solely on price tags.

“You may emphasise shared experiences over material gifts, encouraging practical or homemade presents, and considering alternatives to traditional gift-giving can all contribute to a more budget-friendly and meaningful holiday season.”

When it comes to decorations, embrace cost-saving decorations. Opt for DIY décor using recycled materials or natural elements like pinecones, evergreen branches, and dried flowers.

Consider hosting a decoration swap with friends or family to exchange items from previous years, giving your space a fresh look without additional costs.

According to Ella, people frequently underestimate the impact of small expenses and end up not tracking them. She emphasised the power of tracking the smaller transactions to have a “comprehensive view of your financial habits, allowing for a more accurate assessment of your overall expenses.”

Lastly, do not succumb to peer pressure. As TikTokers would say, learn how to ‘stand on business’ without needing to explain yourself in a room full of friends and family.  

“It is crucial to be confident in your financial priorities and set clear boundaries. Learn to say ‘No’ without feeling the need to justify your financial decisions to others and be firm but polite in declining invitations or suggestions that may lead to overspending. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who understand and respect your financial goals,” said Ella.

Tracking your expenditure during the festive season is necessary since after that period, life moves on and when one is not careful, ‘cabbages’ will be waiting for them in January.