DEBT CENTRE

FESTIVE SEASON

 

How to enjoy a Festive Christmas and New Year

It is December month once again, and before we know it, Christmas time is upon us. Yet, time did not increase its pace, it is our lives that got to the busy level of “too much to do and too little time” everyday.

This week, we at Debt Centre want to share our take on how to make the Christmas Season special again, and helpful tips for the New Year.

Looking back

The year of 2019 was truly a complicated year in our country with its own highs and lows, where we had to deal with bad news from the government affecting our low grade investment status and currency, electricity load shedding, draught that affected our water supply, poor service delivery of the municipalities and a lot of retrenchments and job losses throughout all the business sectors.

People get pressured to keep paying on loans and accounts that was granted through unregistered financial creditors or to over indebted consumers, and they struggle to keep up. The lack of a monthly savings plan or good financial back up system to see the family through year-end and a tight budget, make families spend less on Christmas.

In the Happy Mood of Christmas

How do you get into the mood of Christmas if your spirits are down and you do not feel the need to be happy and jolly? The important thing is to remember the good times you had with your children, all the exciting family Christmases of your past, the excitement around the tree, and what beautiful new memories can you create this Christmas coming.

So if you are privilege to have a Christmas tree and decorations, it can be therapeutic and mind refreshing to put it up with the help of the rest in the house. The excitement starts when you discuss the food menu of Christmas day, listening to the old Carroll’s

while planning the happenings, who of the distant family will be visiting, and before you know it, your somber mood changed to the happiness you know so well of the past celebrations.

Christmas time is a time to share with loved ones and friends. Find out who’s doing what over Christmas time, can you afford to host a party if costs could be shared by the rest. Where will be the best choice of venue for everyone attending and so forth?

Practical ideas for Gifts

The new trend of today’s families during Christmas is to spoil with small, but handy gifts. It is all in the spirit of excitement and giving, sharing good company, laughter and singing together.

If you had your gift shopping planned far in advance, and have your Christmas spending ready, you are well on your way. If not, practical and affordable handmade gifts that can be used in and around the house are just as good if not better.

  • The women with baking skills can cook jam in jars, with colourful ribbon wrapping they could spoil someone with a sweet treat.
  • If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can make a miniature mouse pincushion for your lady friends, I often find it is an item that woman would love to have.
  • Find material of a dark colour and make a padded BBQ glove for the man of the house to use when he cook outdoors.
  • Beaded jewellery – if you love to create ear rings and necklaces with colour beads, it would be the perfect gift
  • Mismatched Dinner Plates painted to a colourful set a winner.
  • Small glass jars painted and glue paper wrapped, creating miniature pot plants, a perfect fit on anyone’s desk.
  • Rock painting for decorating the garden
  • Pencil holders, door stops or paper weights from cement and wood, one can get creative with different shapes and sizes.
  • Pom Pom book marks
  • Flavoured Salts in small glass jars
  • A set of Chalkboard or Wooden Coasters, another creative idea with personalised names on, as one can gift wrapped it with a bow or string.
  • Candles will always be a winner, with so many shapes and colours to work with, one can never go wrong with a set wrapped in string paper.
  • Painted or beaded portrait frames for the special family photo.

Tip of the day – Keep gift wrapping inexpensive, less is more, strings and bows, bags and tags are the latest trend. Use paper bags, and decorate with ribbon, Christmas stickers or stick old Christmas cards on your gift bag, keep it original and while you doing your gift bags, enjoy it and have fun.

Christmas time is family time

Asking people what their plans are for Christmas, a hundred different answers follow, but the common underline was family. Wherever most of the them planned to go, whether it’s to the seaside, inland to the mountain hikes and camping, road trips to a dam or river for picnic, going on an outdoor entertainment venture, site seeing, a day at the beach, staying home and sharing gifts around the tree, the idea was to share it with their loved ones.

Some of us may not have family and fewer have friends, but they can always be included or introduced in a social group somewhere. There are lots of churches planning outreach projects where they want to interact with all those who need company and help, and share the joy of singing and Christmas giving. Nothing wrong to join in and embrace the care of such a group and be part of something rather than doing nothing and miss the true meaning of it all.

Keeping off the cell phones and electronics all together during Christmas could lead to better bonding, more laughter and verbal communication amongst each other. Collaborated efforts of cooking and baking together, board and card games and stories around the fireplace are some of our ideas we love to share with you.

A Google tip for your Christmas outings – Google is keeping their “what to do” with the family over Christmas season updated with ideas and venues and places to visit for the day and where to book for a few day.

Shopping time

If you had this all planned throughout the year as we suggested in our other blogs relating, your Christmas budget won’t effect your other finances or year-end bonus, a positive reward to strive to and recommendable to all our consumers and readers.

Like we shared our warning about overspending on shopping sprees during black Friday weekend, where one should buy what you really need and not want, the same applies for your Christmas shopping.

If you have planned to afford all your needs and those you want to spoil while you have saved up for the year end, our suggestion is to stick to your plans. Maybe you have it all together, whether you go to a holiday destination or roaming the local places, buy the list of gifts for those dear and near to you, and spend on the food you would need to cater for your visitors.

Keeping to your budget by shopping for practical and small gifts, rather than big and expensive ones, could go well together with a secret Santa theme. Where you only have to buy for one or two in the family or group, rather than for everyone.

New Year’s around the corner

New Year’s Eve is party time for many people, and as with most other holidays, it is for one night and a day only for the celebrations to last. Whether it’s s big or small party, the norm is to get together and celebrate the last minutes of the outgoing calendar day of the year, and onwards the first minutes of the dawn of the first new day of the New Year.

It’s in the entertainment of the moment and the joy of singing and dancing and food and drink, all in celebration all over the world in different styles and formalities. Party hats, tinsels and Champaign is a must at any party, and it’s a good idea to shop in advance as the prices could be more expensive when you leave it for too late.

All this could become costly, so our advice would be to plan everything ahead and in the group. Cover and share the expenses so that everyone can enjoy the time together, without breaking the budget to the effect that you end up broke for the rest of January month. It is then when you fear of “ends meet” override your logical decision making, and you opt out for an emergency loan which will put you back in the vicious cycle of staying in debt forever.

Play on the safe side, don’t drink and drive

Book a driver in advance, or load the Uber app on your mobile phone, so that you do not drive after you had a great New Years party. Do Not Drink and Drive, is the Motto we would like to highlight to all our readers.

It’s best to make sure that your mobile phone is insured against theft, this is the time when it gets stolen and then you are left without one during Christmas time, and mobile phones do not come cheap.

Then it’s Back to School

In less than a month from now, all the celebrations will be over and the reality of the new year at school for the children, on our doorsteps. If by any change you are one of our regular readers and invested in a savings plan like we have suggested, or you are a sound minded financial planner, you should have your own back to school budget, completely aside from all your December spending.

In the modern society we find ourselves in, the funds to keep our children in our schools active and progressing, participating and listed in sport activities etc, escalated to an almost unaffordable expense. We at Debt Centre deals with all your debt problems, and one of the main reasons we invest our time and concerns with our consumers, is because we know we can help them save money, so that they can afford the expensive school requirements.

New products: find out more about how you now can pay less on your accounts without being listed at the credit bureaus… you choose the terms for relief. 6, 12,18 or 24 months you stay in control!

In conclusion

The year has come and gone. For many of us the year was challenging and not always smooth sailing. We have shared the financial difficulties and gains with our customers through out, and we are proud of those who were successfully declared debt free.

The only goal for us, is for you to live a better and burden free life, debt free, and that is our primary wish to all our readers and consumers for the coming New Year. Nothing in life comes easy and money is the root of all evil as the saying goes. Let us be your support in the new year when you don’t know where to turn to.

Message from the author: Ms Annienne Nel

May this time of sharing and caring gives you joy and keep your families together. May you be safe on the roads in South Africa wherever you may travel. Embrace the love and kindness of those close to you and don’t forget the real meaning of Christmas. God bless you all and we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.