Forget Janu-worry focus on being financially responsible all year round 

Forget Janu-worry focus on being financially responsible all year round 

As I compile this article, most South Africans are back to work, and most schools have opened. It is now time to forget Janu-worry and say hello to Janu-merry. Last year was a challenging year indeed and it felt as if Santa Claus was not the usual jovial fellow. We however weathered the Omicron variant in a pragmatic manner. Another positive side is that the financial markets ended 2021 with appealing gains. For example, the FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index ended the year with a stellar return of 29.2%, with December alone posting a 4.8% return. 

It seems happy days are here again, and we need to continue to be financially responsible. The real secret to personal finance isn’t some sort of financial mystery. It isn’t finding some loophole or discovering some magical “system” that will get your life in order. Rather, it’s about following straightforward principles day in and day out that inevitably guide you to a better financial state.

Addressing the holiday “black tax” as we approach the Easter Holidays

There is a trend in South Africa where many of us work far from where we grew up, and come the holiday season, we pack our bags and head back home. Spending money on family is something that’s expected in African households. It’s prevalent within the black culture. I think it’s more about how you have been brought up and if you’re part of a family structure where you’re expected to reciprocate in terms of giving.

If you’re financially savvy, you would have planned for various holidays by now. As we continue with our daily chores, we should keep in mind the upcoming Easter holidays and the related black tax.

It’s hard to say ‘no’ sometimes to family, particularly around the time of the holiday seasons because everyone is in such a happy mood. You don’t want to be discussing budgets and funds. At the beginning of the year, try to set up a separate savings account just for gift-giving contributions, and come holiday season, it’s hoped that the savings account would have accumulated a reasonable amount. It boils down to planning and budgeting.

The South African Savings Institute provides the following holiday season’s logical considerations:

  1. If you did not save, don’t borrow to spend
  2. If you did not budget for a holiday season’s trip, stay at home
  3. Make the season’s gifts instead of buying them, it puts more heart to the gift
  4. Invest in money boxes for children
  5. Avoid buying on impulse, resist those sale signs
  6. When you see sale, think SAVE

This brings me to the commonly known approach during this time of the year. Resolutions provide a yardstick and tangible motivation to tread forward into the year.   

A credible resolution should contain the following ingredients: 

Picking one thing, planning ahead, anticipating problems, picking a start date, going for it, accepting failure and planning rewards for good financial behavior.

An article I read in one of the blogs had this to say: “If you give yourself 30 days to clean your home, it will take you 30 days, but if you give yourself 3 hours, it will take you 3 hours. The same applies to your goals, ambitions and potential” 

Financial Planning is deeply connected to all aspects of modern life, so we should not isolate it. Depending on one’s financial position and/or health, a financial planning resolution could entail picking one thing in your financial affairs that you need to improve. 

Final Thoughts

Failing to plan can result in devastating financial choices that could cause you to fall into debt. The best way to survive the holiday season is to ensure that you have enough money to get you through 2022. Personal finance success is a long march and is all about taking good steps.

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