THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has advised people to spend carefully this festive season to ensure that they save enough financial reserves for the beginning of 2015.
The festive season has reached its peak with families and friends meeting to celebrate Christmas and New Year as well as various events, which are associated with exchanging gifts and travelling.
ZCTU president George Nkiwane told Southern Eye Business that this festive season was very difficult because not every employee received their salaries and advised the fortunate ones that were paid to exercise prudence in spending.
“People should spend on the basics and shy away from unnecessary pleasantries because there is no room for extravagance this year. What makes it worse is that the majority of the working population did not receive their 13th cheque to fund generous spending,” Nkiwane said.
“A situation where you expect to get paid and you don’t is very unfortunate and there is the issue of people who then try to go out and borrow money, but again, my advice is that we should always try to spend only what we have.”
Teachers’ bonus payments were deferred to January 2015 and rumour has it that many more employees in private businesses will also not receive bonuses this month.
“Some employees have been promised money next year but it is very risky to borrow on speculation so I would rather people did not,” Nkiwane added.
The start of the year is notorious for lack of money which has been labeled the “January disease” whereby people struggle to meet their financial obligations.
Nkiwane said on the backdrop of a crippling liquidity crunch, people would be ill-advised to spend without a plan or budget, especially since the season is characterised by sales and promotions that usually are an impetus for impulse buying.
“In any case I do not believe in these sales, but view them as actual prices for the goods,” he said.
Southern Eye Business compiled a few crucial spending tips from Military.Com on how to spend wisely during the holiday season.
Set reasonable expectations because while many people won’t spend that much on shopping, any spending that strains your finances or saddles you with post-holiday debt is bad for your financial future period. Take the time to talk with family and friends about realistic holiday spending limits.
Plan, budget, and save by figuring out who’s on your gift list, creating a holiday budget, and gradually setting money aside as this can help you avoid overspending, unwanted debt and financial stress.
Watch out for costly surprises and make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions if you’re using gift cards or layby plans.
For instance, expiration dates, inactivity rules and hidden fees on gift cards can eat away at their value if you’re not careful.