How To Make It To Jan Without Breaking The Bank


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November was intense. Black Friday and all. It is so tempting to just buy everything you need and think you’ll need in the near future. Then, comes December. More deals and price cuts. If you aren’t careful, you might spend yourself into debt and spend the next year paying back your holiday debt.

This season, how do you plan to bounce back after the holidays? Do you have a plan for your holiday spending?

Here are FIVE things you can do to avoid breaking the bank this festive season.

#1 Be Accountable

It is important to some level of accountability for everything you spend. Set goals and achieve those goals, exactly – not overspending. Without accountability, you’ll just find yourself swiping your card everywhere. This can really set you back in the new year as you run your balance low or create more debt to pay in the next year.

Accountability can be taken by:

  • Setting goals that matter to us – realize that only you can bear the consequences of your own failure.
  • Having a strong rational plan of success i.e. setting clear goals that specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.
  • Surrounding yourself with people that encourage you to succeed – share your goals with people who are supportive of you, and they will hold you accountable for everything that you set out to do.
  • Take pride in all your achievements and successes – the same way one might share about losing 15kgs, and even taking a before and after pictures, is the same attitude you need to adopt for your personal finance.
  • Consistently review your progress and interpret your successes and failures – letting go gives room for goals to fall apart. Thus, reviewing successes and setbacks allows for learning opportunities that increase chances of more successes.

At the end of the way,  we all don’t want one moment of weakness to undo all that we have achieved during the year.

#2 Have a Budget

If you don’t already have a Christmas fund and a budget to go with it, then consider budgeting the recommended 1% of your total annual income for Christmas gifts. That is to say, if you earn KES 100,000 per month, after tax, you should spend no more than KES 12,000 on Christmas gifts.

Many of us go all out this season and just spend and spend, forgetting that at the end of the month there is rent, utilities etc., and in January, school fees needs to be paid.

Setting a specific amount that doesn’t cause a serious dent on your finances is the first step to not breaking the bank. Then, whatever the amount you have come up with or decide upon, make sure that you stick to it and not overspend.

#3 Pay With Cash

Impulse buying can be quite hard to control when everything is out on display, nicely presented and on discount.

Leaving your credit/debit card at home will allow you to only spend as much cash/Mpesa as you have allotted in your budget. Also, make sure you don’t have excesses in your Mpesa, while you go shopping. This way, you will be able to stay on budget and leave things that you can’t afford behind.

#4 Shop Online

If you can’t resist the temptation to impulse buy, then try shopping online for a change. This way, you select what you want without the holiday hullabaloo. After all, you can’t buy what you can’t see and the total in the cart will surely be a deterrent to keep adding stuff.

While at it, don’t forget to factor in shipping costs when calculating your holiday spending.

#5 Consider Alternative Gifting

Many of us may have a lot of people to gift and the budget just won’t allow you to buy things for everyone. Consider these alternatives for less expensive gifts that are just as meaningful as store-bought holiday gifts.

  • Consider giving handmade gifts such as crafts or baked goods.
  • For friends, consider organizing a potluck lunch/dinner or dessert gathering. Saving money and spending time together, sometimes is worth more than gifts.
  • Play Secret Santa – buying gifts for each person can easily wipe out your budget. Consider asking relatives in your family to buy one gift for a select person rather than everyone buying gifts for everyone else.


Just avoid overspending…

There is nothing worse than closing off the year in the red after all the hard work you have put in throughout the there. Don’t spend your new year cleaning up last years mess and paying for mistakes that could have been avoided.

Happy Holidays!

Image credits: Top by Rawpixel via, Pexels.

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Irene Makanga
Irene has an MBA in Finance and is an avid businesswoman, passionate about financial literacy.


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