January is right around the clock with many still on their last-minute plan on how to spend their Christmas and New year. The gap between January to February feels like three months as these last-minute plans tend to cost many financially.
In Africa, Christmas and new year are not holidays if they do not involve a get-together with family and friends, visiting relatives, drinks, eating out, and buying gifts for others.
Most people get paid a bit earlier in December making it easier to plan ways to enjoy the holiday with family members after all the struggles you went through the entire year but many of us do not budget for holiday spendings.
The financial reality hits in January after realising you have spent all the money you had and you no longer have enough money to go back home, you have to pay school fees, you need transport money to go to work and your bank balance is on minus.
This is the time when #njaanuary will be trending on social media. ‘Njaa’ is a Kiswahili word meaning hunger
As there are still a few days left before many get paid, here are a few pieces of advice on how to avoid paying December debts for the first three months or more of 2022.
When noting down your new year resolution, and everything you plan on buying in the coming year, budget for your holidays as well. Plan how you will spend your December holiday and set aside a certain amount preferably monthly as you would with rent that you will only use for all the festivities in December to avoid overspending.
If you did not save throughout 2021, make sure you portion your December salary set aside an amount for all your January expenses first. Your January salary will only come in late in January and you need to survive without accumulating debts.
You do not need to pay a visit to everyone’s home every year. Many in villages expect gifts when you pay a visit and that costs money. To avoid not being the topic of the season and overspending just visit a few people and visit them another time. Or let them understand that you will not be bringing gifts.
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Stop the tendency of buying drinks for everyone, let them contribute as well, yes you can spoil your people but they should also pitch in something. You can pitch in more but do not let them assume you will be paying for everyone and if you do it should not be every day. They will not be there when you are struggling.
Buy your Christmas decorations from late January to March. Prices of Christmas trees, clothes, and decorations go up during the Christmas season as they are in high demand and go extra low after the festivities to clear the stores. A Christmas tree currently could cost five times what it would in March.
Did you know that instead of Santa Claus, Ghana has ‘Old Man Byaka’ a Christmas devil who walks down the streets door to door begging for presents?