Plans are essential for avoiding December overspending. Fortunately, Violet has one.
Violet was the winner of the 1Life Win a Financial Makeover competition. That means she will have seven sessions with me, Winnie Kunene, Money Psychologist and trustee on the board of Truth About Money. You can get to know Violet by reading the blogs where I report back on our previous sessions. Read on to find out what progress she has made this month.
Violet has been making excellent progress. She has continued to meet all her debt repayments with an admirable determination, and is well on track to paying off her Ackermans debt by March next year, as planned. It was around R5 000 when we first met in August, so this is a wonderful achievement!
We are about to face a serious challenge. Even if you have the best of intentions, December is a tough month to get through financially. The combination of too much free time over the holidays, travel, festive entertainment and present buying means that people often start the new year with a whole lot of debt. I raised this point with Violet in the hopes of helping her to budget for the silly season, and giving her some tips for resisting overspending. Her response surprised me.
Christmas is a western society thing for people who have money to buy trees and presents
She told me, “For me, Christmas is not a tradition. We don’t celebrate or buy presents. Christmas is a western society thing for people who have money to buy trees and presents. And I have no plans to go anywhere, because I’ve recently visited my little brother and grandmother, so I don’t need to travel again during the holiday season.”
I was very relieved to hear that I don’t need to worry about Violet’s finances over the holidays – she is determined that she won’t be splurging.
More good news: Violet is getting a bonus! She’s already started making careful plans for what she’s going to do with her extra R3 000. Here is a breakdown:
- Food for December and January: R1 000
- Work transport for December and January: R1 350
- A little something to enjoy over the holidays: R300
- Emergency fund: R350
The money she has allocated to her December and January transport and food obviously replaces what was already in her monthly budget for those items. The surplus money she has at the end of each of those months will then go to paying off debt, or into her emergency fund, which you can see she’s got started with R350.
Emergency funds are a vital part of anyone’s financial plan. It’s said that any person should have three months’ salary or six months’ worth of expenses saved up at any given time, for emergencies. Having a financial buffer like this protects people from having to go into debt if an emergency comes up, and provides something to live on while they look for work if they are retrenched.
Violet is obviously a long way off from achieving this level of savings, but she understands why it is important and she’s making a start, which is what counts.
At the end of our session, I wished Violet peace and goodwill, which I think she has a lot more of now that she has a plan to tackle her existing debt and avoid taking on any more.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of 1Life or its employees.