Top tips on how to survive the post-festive season financial strain

– Chanelle Taylor (Director, Cornerstone Financial Planning)

Even though you tried your best not to, chances are you overspent in December and splurged on too many luxuries to end off the year in style. In principle, spoiling yourself after a long year is not a bad thing, but if you overdid it, you’re likely counting the minutes to the end of January and your next pay check.

If the adage reads: It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and seconds to destroy it, a reversed version of it can be applicable to your finances: It takes seconds to make debt and spend too much, and months or years to recover from it. As much as your salary will help relieve some of the pressure, the unfortunate truth is that you will most likely feel the pinch of festive overspending well into the year, at least for another few months.

Our top priority at Cornerstone Financial Planning and Fiduciary Services is that you reach the financial goals you set out while staying financially strong and independent. A large part of reaching your financial goals, is making sure that you manage your income and expenses properly – this means that you may have to adapt your lifestyle from time to time to ensure that you spend wisely and save adequately.

To help you survive the post festive season financial strain, we have put together a few ways to save on everyday items that will help your finances recover faster.

Explore less expensive meal options

With the explosion of food related accounts on Instagram, finding low cost meal ideas that are still flavourful and interesting is simply a swipe or tap away. Accounts like Budget Bytes and Plant Based On A Budget provide a fantastic library of cheap and yummy recipes for you and your family, while Love Food Hate Waste helps you to reduce food waste with great leftover recipes and ideas. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to save money on meals by cleverly selecting ingredients and minimising waste.

Furthermore, avoid takeaways and restaurants for a couple of weeks. It’s no secret that dining out and fast foods are expensive, especially compared to home cooked meals.

Free forms of entertainment for kids and adults

Entertainment costs can sting quite a bit and it’s the first thing we feel deprived of when living on a budget, but it doesn’t have to be as bad as we think. There are a multitude of free entertainment options, many of which you may find are already in your home.

Go old school and build a large puzzle or play that childhood boardgame you loved with friends – a great break from mobile phones and social media. Most large cities in South Africa have wonderful parks and botanical gardens, most of which are free to enter and explore. Take your family and spend a morning getting some fresh air and connecting with nature.

Using your smart phone and social media, you and your friends can start a photography challenge on Instagram. Whether it’s #Project365 that challenges you to take a photo every day for a year or shorter challenges like colour challenges that require participantsto find everyday objects in certain colours, there are literally thousands to choose from.

Stay positive and don’t despair

One of the most important things to remember during the post festive financial struggle, is to remain positive and don’t be too hard on yourself or your family. This too shall pass and with some clever and unique saving tips like the ones above, it’ll be over in no time. Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family and neighbours for help and remember the value of learning from past spending mistakes which will make you a wiser consumer in the future.

Get in touch with us if you require assistance with budgeting and managing your finances

We trust that 2019 will be successful and marvellous year for you and your family. If you require any assistance with financial planning, estate planning, retirement savings, life insurance or disability cover, be sure to contact Cornerstone Financial Planning today. Remember to follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn for updates on events, financial news and more useful content.

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