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Show Januworry who is boss

6 June 2024
3 minute read
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Are you one of thousands of South Africans who run out of money in January thanks to overspending in the holiday season and that long list of expenses in January? Do things differently in 2025 and do some advance planning - now! Get your loved ones onboard, plan budgets and save a little extra so you can have a stress-free start to 2025.

Januworry’s extra expenses

If you experience higher than usual or budgeted for expenses in January, you are experiencing Januworry. Your higher expenses could be because you spend more than you can afford in December - on festive season celebrations or vacations, or your higher costs could be the back-to-school costs, or even increases in January's expenses such as insurance and medical costs, including medical aid! Or, all of these! The result is that you need more money, and often end up with budget problems in January, and the months that follow. Plus, if you spent on credit your debts will be higher, stretching your finances even more. The good news is that there is an easy way out – if you start now!

You can banish Januworry

Reduce your December and January expenses and you can banish Januworry! But who wants that? You need the break and the downtime, as well as some celebrations, and if you plan ahead your budget will cope!

The easiest and happiest way to banish Januworry is to work out what your December and January budgets could look like in the middle of they year, and save for any extra expenses - which you have the time to do!

1. Plan your December expenses

Work out how much you will need for what you want, for December vacations, and/or staycations and any festive season spending, including:

  • Travelling and accommodation
  • Childcare and entertainment, such as outings and movie trips
  • Parties, gifts, food, drinks and decorations

Let’s say your family of four wants a holiday of six days in KwaZulu in December, plus a two-day visit with family. You work out that, including travelling costs, accommodation, food and gifts, you need an extra R7 500 to pay for the holiday. You also want to celebrate the festive season, for which you need an additional R2 500. In total, you need R10 000 for your December 2024 plans.

Top tip: 1Life Insurance holiday savings calculator will help you work out how much you need to save for your holiday and December expenses!

2. Plan your January expenses

Once you’ve planned your extra December expenses, start planning for the January expenses that can put so much strain on finances, including school and any university costs, such as fees you pay annually, travel and accommodation costs, food, books and stationary costs, clothes, uniforms, equipment such as lab equipment or sports equipment.

Working these out, you find you need, as an example, an extra R3 000 in January 2025.

Top tip: Find out what discounts and specials apply. You may be able to save thousands by booking December holidays in June, paying school or university fees in advance rather than monthly, and using any specials or savings offered on reward programmes.

3. Agree to and stick to a savings plan

You've worked out the amount you need – now get your family to agree to a savings plan! And, why not put a chart on the fridge door tracking your savings, so you know if you are on track, and can all look forward to that holiday!

In the example, you need to save an extra R13 000 for December and January to make sure you don’t end up with Januworry. Using our 1Life Insurance Holiday calculator, you work out that you need to save around R2 150 a month, assuming an interest rate of 4%.

You have two options to “save” this money – either cut back on some expenses in your current budget, or find a little extra, such as by starting a side hustle or taking on some extra work. Or you can do both! If you are 100% certain, no 200% certain that you will get a bonus, you can set some of this aside, but only spend it once it is money in your bank account!

Top tip: Cash Crunch, a free online course from Truth About Money, a 1Life Insurance initiative, has some excellent ideas on how to raise extra cash when you really need it.

Look forward to some fun

Right! You know how much you need and have a savings plan. Now it is time to start looking forward to December! All the fun, friends, family, food, love and laughter! And best of all, you won’t start the new year in a state of stress because your budget is Januworry free!

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