The festive season is here. There are a lot of things it means- meeting friends and relatives, buying gifts, socialising, partying and all the fun. However, none of us want to end up in a financial mess after the festive season is over. It could be a huge credit card bill which cannot be paid off in time. It could mean that you have no money left for your regular investments just because you have spent more money than you actually should.
While your expenses will go up during the festive season and there is not much you can do about it, you can still keep it under control. We tell you 5 ways to avoid overspending in the festive season.
Have a budget
The first and most important thing to do is to have a budget. List down all the expenses you are likely to have, whether it is buying gifts, eating out, going on a holiday and so on and figure out how much you will be spending. If you planned in advance and have a some cash to dip into, that is great, but in case you haven’t, you would need to cut down on your spending.
Track your expenses:
Having a budget is half the battle won. Track your expenses and try to stick to your budget. Every time you overshoot a budget, it should act as a red flag. If you are spending more than your budget in a certain category, you have to cut down on something else. You can overshoot your budget, but only some. If you overspend a lot more it will mean trouble.
Avoid buying on credit as much as possible
It is for moments like this a credit card is for, you would think. Which is true, just that you have to pay off your credit card dues in full every month. Every time you buy a gadget on EMI, like a mobile phone or a watch, that gets added up to your credit card bill. Now there are lot of buy now, pay later options. There are zero interest EMIs, interest free credit up to a certain period and so on. Plus getting such credit is very easy, it takes almost no time and minimal paperwork.
Buying on credit is fine, but ask yourself if you can meet your financial commitments going ahead. How much will you pay each month on EMI? Will such purchases put a strain on your finances? Are you paying a very high rate of interest? Ask yourself all these questions before making any purchase. Before taking any credit is very important to be sure that you can pay it off on time. There is nothing worse than being penalised by fines or very high interest rates.
Do not get tempted by discounts
People buy more during the festive season. Online retailers cash in on this and provide huge discounts. Do not fall in the trap of buying something you can do without just because it is selling at a discount. You have already set a budget, you have to do without things that do not fit into your budget. Impulsive purchases are thus a big no no.
Let us take a simple example. An offer says that if you purchase two pairs of jeans, you get one pair free. If you need only one pair of jeans, you should never get two. To sum up, freebies, discounts, cash back offers and free gifts should not influence your buying decisions. Buy only what you need. Also, a big discount is not always a discount. If somebody is offering you a 70 per cent discount, there has to be a caveat. Either the price is inflated or the product may not be of the promised quality. So be very cautious.
Do not fall for the shop and save myth
Every purchase is an expenditure. There is nothing like shop more and save more. If it actually meant savings, you would have ended up saving more money in the festive season. Consider every purchase as an expense which needs to be paid right away or in the future.
This would require a bit of planning, but every bit will be worth your money.