It is that time of the year again when festivities come down like rain and just as it is every year, December has more holidays than usual.
As some big companies are busy wooing customers, other firms are allocating huge amounts of money to promote products and services over the holiday season, which explains why most people overindulge during the holidays.
While it’s hard to resist the festive pull before you spend your entire December salary during the festive season; which is only a few days by the way, it’s important to focus on the essence of Christmas, time with family and friends rather than succumbing to the commercial nudges that seem to have become imperative to Christmas.
Virgile Karuranga, also known as DJ Miller, also has a lineup of several events that await his services such as Jingle beats Silent disco at Park Inn Hotel, Christmas silent disco at Fuschia, Rock NYE, Wild n wet pool party that he is co-organising.
While it may sound like an opportunity to party simultaneously, he believes that the goal is to make good holiday memories and not necessarily show off as the bills will pile up the coming month.
Party lovers should enjoy responsibly and remember that there’s life after December. Before you ‘blow’ your money, ensure that there is an income ready to cover your bills for December and January, he says.
Anitha Umuhoza, a mother of two, admits to still learning the art of holding back her hard-earned money during holidays especially because December for her, feels like an energy force pushing her towards to impulsive shopping.
Resisting any natural response to shopping for she suggests, comes with a commitment to the idea of resistance, and a willingness to practice that resistance when necessary.
“Christmas won’t be your only opportunity to show others how much you love them or to spend time with your family.
While some employers are kind enough to pay salaries before Christmas, every penny counts and it will be different in January as oftentimes, the house has holidaymakers who will not understand your money problems. The easiest way is to surround yourself with people who will remind you that your utility bills for December and January are not yet paid,” she says.
For Aime Ndamira, an electronics engineer, however, there is no harm in spending money as it is one of the most significant ways one express their love.
“It’s not wrong to reward yourself or your family after a whole year of hard work and putting up with so many things, after all, it only happens once a year,” he says.
He adds as a matter of fact, that everyone deserves to save up money specifically for the festive season to enjoy and share with others after all that is what Christmas is about.
His concern, however, is how spending a lot on Christmas has of late been tied to how successful people are or how much they adore someone and has nothing to do with the birth of Christ.
“Give gifts if you wish, but think about what is moving you toward buying those gifts. With this knowledge, you might make a few better choices. The simple rule is to get in the spirit as a Christian remembering the reason for celebration and share with the needy. Participate in Christmas charity activities as it can go a long way in giving you a sense of purpose for the holiday season,” he says.
While the festive season is a tough time to commit when sticking to a budget, Bruce Intore, a local event’s organiser believes it is possible.
With all the events lined up for the festive season, a chance for promoters like him to earn some money ahead of the ‘dry’ season, one ought to spend wisely to prepare for the next season.
“I would advise Rwandans to plan ahead keeping aside money for essential January expenses and spend within their means,” he says.
Ornella Mugeni, a business lady believes that Christmas isn’t about material things, instead, there are other measures one can apply to feel rich.
“If we see friends doing something, our environment is signaling this is what we do at Christmas time, then it’s easier to comply. It, however, doesn’t make sense to go over budget during Christmas. No matter what the advertisements say, you can make the holidays a truly memorable celebration of life and family,” she says.
One of her tips to saving up for January is keeping track of her festive spending to avoid going over a person’s budget during the festive season and taking advantage of Christmas offers by buying food in bulk and storing it up for January and sticking to a budget that governs her holiday expenditure is something she does not overlook.
She also adds that rather than blow up money, people should learn to pay their debts so that everyone is happy and people are not straining for recurring debts.
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO SPEND SPARINGLY DURING THE FESTIVE SEASON?
My friends and I will alternate hosting house parties to cut on costs that would be incurred when we go out. Food in the right portions and holiday games are all we need to enjoy the festive season.
Rogers Kabera, social worker
This year I will not be travelling home for the holidays so I am planning a potluck meal with my friends where everyone is encouraged to bring a dish. Not only will it be a fun and memorable time, it will also save me from having to cover the expenses of a multi-course meal all by myself.
Anne Mutesi, banker
I intend to make good use of special offers in different supermarkets as there are many discounts for various products towards Christmas. It will be an opportunity to store up groceries in my fridge for the entire festive season.
Evelyn Muhoza, businesswoman
Once I get my salary I’m going to budget for the festive season and track my expenditures. That way I will be able to enjoy within my means, at the same time go through January without having to stress about finances.
Richard Mupenzi, marketerFollow https://twitter.com/SharonKMugabo