By Bank Windhoek's Head of Corporate Affairs, Hayley Allen.
With the Festive Season around the corner, it is advisable to spend money wisely and plan. Customers should not fall into the trap of spending more money than they can afford during the holidays. This overspending can put them under financial stress during the first couple of months of the New Year.
Customers should use their funds to cover the beginning of the year's educational expenses: school fees, new uniforms, and stationery. They are also advised to keep in mind that although they are on holiday and relaxing, they cannot let down their guard regarding financial discipline. The following few tips can help customers save some money during the Festive Season:
Stick to a budget: It is easy to overspend during the Festive Season due to the hype of activities and joyous mood. Since this is the time for gift-giving and spending time with family and friends, customers should draw up a budget and stick to it for their holiday period. They should not overspend on the budget.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash: It seems easier to spend more when one has a large amount of physical cash at hand. Carrying large amounts of money is also a dangerous habit as one might become a robber's target.
Use the money wisely: For those who are fortunate enough to get a 13th cheque, they should first set aside some of it to honour their financial commitments at the beginning of the year. The same goes for those that take out a loan or overdraft to fund their holidays. The holiday might be long gone, but they will still be paying for it for a long time.
Do not fall for the discount trap: As much as one would hunt for bargains during the Festive Season, customers should not buy more than they need. Retailers will shout out their discounts, but is it a need? Customers should examine every purchase they make during the Festive Season.
Plan the holiday: Planning for a holiday in advance is always a great idea since it saves money and reduces pressure on personal finances. Next year, customers can perhaps start saving money for their holidays and Christmas gifts six months in advance. Bank Windhoek has several convenient savings products tailored to suit the individual's or a group's saving needs.
Check the shopping list: Customers are reminded to check that their gifts' shopping list is not necessarily long and unrealistic. If the list is too long, they can cut it down on the number of people on their current list. They can then bake some cookies to give to the people they snipped from their original gift list. This will ensure they spread the holiday cheer.
Be Alert: This season is also synonymous with theft, especially cyberfraud. Customers must not share their personal bank information with anyone claiming to be calling from the bank. Fraudsters will use this to authenticate transactions on a customer's behalf. Finally, customers should avoid withdrawing large amounts of money and keep their personal belongings safe.
The Festive Season is a time to spend with loved ones and not impress others with expensive gifts. Customers should clearly distinguish between their needs and wants and look after them instead of buying what they want. The essential rule is to always stick to the budget and cultivate a culture of saving instead of satisfying immediate wants. The Festive Season can be more exciting and memorable with a clear budget plan.