So we have finally come to the end of the year. Like many years before we have made mistakes, we have failed and we have also had some victories. Some of us are taking wealth building seriously and some of us are not there yet. If you have no idea how to start creating wealth, read this article, it should be of some help.
As with everything else, our finances may have improved or gotten worse over the past year. 2017 was also an election year and that did not make it easier to improve finances. Businesses were down, firms began downsizing and people lost jobs.
However, there are some of you who have not had a bad year financially but your finances are anything but orderly. There is always the will to do better, to save more, to stop impulse spending to stop lending to people who do not pay but somehow we are unable to beat the temptations.
Since we are in December and it is the season for giving and therefore I will not tell you about how to start saving. Look out for my eye opening post next month.
For now, let me give you a few pointers of how to navigate the beast that is Christmas and still stay above water in January.
Deal with absolutes for January before spending for the holiday
You are probably going to be paid this week. For some, this is a natural occurrence but for some it is a delight restricted for December.
There is always an excitement that comes with receiving your salary. If you have already been paid, I may be too late, but in case you still have some money in your account I may be just in time.
We are all familiar with the 70 days of January right? Well to save yourself from that, the first items on your budget should be those must do items for January for instance rent, water, electricity bills and transport and of course savings.
It is very easy to be consumed by the ghosts of Christmas and the myth that you have to spend all you have. That you have to attend every party and pay for every excursion offered to you, the truth is, you should let your pocket decide that.
Create your holiday plans around your budget
It is very tempting to want to invite all Christmas events or turn up for a full ten days because your friends are doing it. I understand that, but if you are to grow financially you will only attend to things that can fit in your budget after being done with point one above.
Remember positive growth in anything requires a lot of discipline and you have to catch yourself when you are about to do something financially self deprecating.
If you cannot afford to go upcountry do not, if you cannot afford that concert next week, stream it or put on your head phones and blast them.
If you are an influential member of your gang and you do not want to miss out maybe you can
Opt for less money intensive entertainment options
Let us face it, it does not matter how much I preach. This is probably the first time you are actually resting or catching up with your friends for real. Yes, you want to be financially healthy but you also want to unwind.
The good news is, you can do both but your options may not be what you are used to. You may have to tone it down a notch or two. Take for example that you and your friends love road trips and love to use car hire services.
We all know what happens when demand is higher than supply right? If you don’t, the prices go up. Hiring a vehicle will cost a pretty penny this season. It would be more prudent for you to choose a closer location and pay an Uber instead. The fare will be cheaper and you will not need to buy fuel too.
You can also alternate going out, and having brunch where everybody brings a dish instead of eating out all the time. Also check out this post about entertainment costs.
Keep yourself busy with things that do not involve walking around and shopping
It is finally the end of the year. You have been working for ages and you are finally free. Having a bit of time just for you should be a good thing but not in this case.
You have become accustomed to being on your feet all day, beating deadline and all that jazz. Now all of a sudden you have all the time in the world no idea what to do with it. I would suggest time consuming activities because when you are idle you tend to think you are very rich.
You end up in town and all of a sudden everything is pretty. You see that vase you have been looking for all year and the salary has just come in. You already have 15 vases in storage because there is just no space for them but, let us not let that stop you, but I digress.
Try to take up something that will use up your time and leave you so tired you have no time for impulse shopping. Check this list out, it has a lot of good places to visit for, wait for it……… less than Ksh.1000.
This is a season of merry and giving. My only advice to you would be, please do not forget yourself. Do not give what you do not have, do not spend what you cannot afford to.
It can be very difficult not to conform, it is easy to keep up appearances rather than live within your means. The one thing you need to remember is that growth is hard but worth it in the end.
Giving up stuff may not be the easiest thing. However, one day your holiday fund will be complete and you will look back at this moment and be glad you decided to be so mature.
Being financially responsible however, does not mean you should not spend time and money on what is important. Hang out with the people you love do not be a yes person when it comes to your wallet.
As always, I am grateful that you have read this post. Feel free to comment with any questions or any additions to this post.
Have a merry Christmas and a joyous new year.