Let’s face the fact- January this year was just like the Januaries in the past few years- very loooooooong because you were broke. Why? You spent December Salary in December! Simplicitas! You don’t need a soothsayer to tell you this. Guess what? It’s probably gonna happen again, only if you don’t do something about. I recommend to you the golden rule of surviving this Christmas- create a Christmas Fun Fund. This is guaranteed to make January feel like any regular month “financially”.
Step 1: Create your regular monthly Survival Kit budget: You probably know the barest minimum things you need to survive if you have to treat December like any random month. These are the regular things you will be paying for- food, transport to work/school, talk time, month’s rent (if you are paying monthly), electricity etc. The budget should assume you will not go anywhere during the holidays- just stay at home and stare at your TV or read a book.
Step 2: Draw a fun plan. Identify the places you will be going to or the activities you will be embarking on. Making an itinerary of the activities gives you a bird’s eye view of where you will be hanging out. Dream big. Fantasize all you want- the concerts, the parties, fun trips, cooking, etc
Note: You don’t need to be at all the music concerts. You should be selective. Most top artistes will perform on multiple platforms and they will probably do the same performances and same songs. Just go to where your favourite top artistes will be- that’s all.
Step 3: Cost each of your fun activities. For example to attend one music concert you will need.
|Ticket||XXX||Be selective. You can’t be everywhere! You don’t need to be everywhere!|
|Transport||XXX||Choose cheapest and most convenient. Pooling with friends is often cheaper. Split costs-You are not father Christmas.|
|Water/Drinks||XXX||Eat at home so you can survive on drinks|
|Outfit||XXX||Buy new if only necessary. Jeans is safest- people hardly recognize you are repeating.|
Step 4: Match your total planned expenditure- Survival Kit Budget + Fun budget with your income. The rule to surviving January is for you to remember December salary is not for December. Your June salary was not for June, was it? The salary you received last week is what you need to depend on for December. The ultimate plan is to create your Christmas fund with allocations from your income in the last three months- September, October, November. This will relieve you of the pressure. But hey we are here already. So let’s focus on the November income.
Step 5: Reduce your expenditure if you think your fun plan is bigger than your budget. Think outside the box with your income. What work can bring you extra income? For example some jobs are quick wins like ushering. There will be tonnes of events that will need ushers. Do something on the side. If the incomes from the side jobs does not still add up, take some part of your December income- not more than 25%. As a golden rule- Don’t borrow to chill!!!
Step 6: When you receive your December salary. Keep 70% as far away from reach as possible. Don’t keep it in an account that has an ATM or connected to your mobile money. That is as good as having it your purse. You can even open a new bank account in a bank that is not close to you. This will help you not spend it. You will live within your means.
Step 7: Survive December. You will make it. Go have fun. You only live once, but if you live it well, once is enough. Don’t chisel yourself. You have worked had enough all year, reward yourself. But act responsibly. From February/March, start to create another Christmas Fun fund by saving in small bits with income from February to November. Trust me, next year christmas’ fun will be orgasmic.
Kwaku Anim Boadu – Twitter: @boaduanim
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