Monday November 26 2012

Living and Loving it: Staying sane after Christmas

Staying sane after Christmas


By Carol Beyanga

So, Christmas is around the corner. Well, it is four weeks away and that is close, believe me. People are talking about how they are going to deal with the “tough” weeks ahead. Tough because this is when families have many more needs but less money.

That is what they say and think. But if you observe carefully, you will realise that people do not just really plan well. And I must say I too, fall in this boat sometimes.

Think about it. It is not like we did not know Christmas would happen. It is not like we do not know prices of certain items get hiked.

It is not like we do not know that our employers will pay us earlier than usual (something I actually think they should not do, because I bet they have more people than usual asking for advance pay in January).

It is not like we do not know the children will be back to school and they will need school fees and other items in January. So why do we go ahead and fall in the same trap over and again?

This year, I have decided I do not want to find myself squeezing the pennies to last over days. I will say that I am proud of the fact that I have never run broke during this time. However, I am not proud of the way I have spent money, mostly because I did not plan well.

So this time round, I have set it all out. First, I have decided to do shopping in bulk, of the non-perishables early enough. This will save me lining up in loooong queues in the middle of December. My plan for the meals for the big days is already set up. I plan to stick to it and not change my mind or add other ingredients.

You see, buying a few days to Christmas is dangerous because the supermarkets are chockfull of all these enticing items, at supposedly lower prices, items that you frankly do not need.

Buying in bulk also helps in a way that when their prices, or that of matooke soar through the roof in the new year, I shall have enough stock to take us through.
We have already set aside school fees for next term for the older girl. That way, we won’t be looking around for the money or depleting our savings account.

I have noticed that when I have what I think is a good amount of money in the account, I am tempted to think I have more than enough for our needs, only for it to disappear.
However, when I take care of the important needs first, I see how much I am left with and plan how to use it well.

I am also learning not to leave beyond my means. This means not buying that dress or perfume on impulse and being a careful driver on the road and avoiding those little scrapes with other cars which end up costing you a lot.

It also means I cannot have dinner out as often as I would like (my favourite restaurants seem to have doubled their prices) or buy snacks every evening. It looks small, but those small things add up and leave you with less money on the account.

Let’s hope my plans work out!