How time flies! It is December, the last month of the calendar year and just two days to Christmas Day. From discussions on social media platforms, many people cannot just wait to see off 2021 which, like 2020, has not been too kind.
In 2021, there were highs and lows, but, at the end of the day, the spread and impact of the coronavirus pandemic was the major setback as the global health problem brought life to a standstill and changed the way people live. In the course of the year, we lost scores of friends and family to Covid-19 and other ailments. May their souls continue resting in eternal peace.
Today, it is two days to Christmas Day which falls on December 25th. This is the day billions of Christians worldwide celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, their Lord and Saviour.
Despite the mixed fortunes the year presented, excitement, although subdued, is back in the air with businesses running festive promotions while believers and non-believers alike stock up for the festive season.
For years, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day celebrations have acted as opportune times for people to reflect on their personal and organisational growth plans. People also go wild shopping, feasting and sharing gifts. There is generally excess spending by consumers during this period.
There is nothing really wrong with shopping or merrymaking, I must say. If you can afford it, spoil yourself after a year of blood, sweat and tears. But, at the end of the day, in whatever manner you spend your money, you should avoid falling into the trap of impulse-buying or indeed unnecessary debts.
Impulse buying is where one buys items without planning. This can be avoided by drawing a shopping list and sticking to it when you go out shopping. During outings to shopping malls, you should also pay “a blind eye” to the ‘sale’ signs.
Travel for leisure is another main activity during Christmas Day and New Year’s Day festivities. If you did not budget for such a holiday trip, please do not make unplanned trips simply because your neighbours or peers are going to the lake or some holiday destination. Many people plan such trips ahead and make their holiday bookings and payments as early as March, so do not just go with the flow. Plan.
Traditionally, some employers have tended to bend over backwards to cushion their employees from Christmas Day and New Year’s Day festivities expenses by giving them bonuses calculated as a percentage of one’s salary or indeed the 13th cheque. If you happen to be one of such lucky souls in this ‘Covid-19 era’, please use the extra income to clear outstanding debts and invest for the rainy day. Do not spend money like you have been cast with a spell or as if the money is perishable and will go bad.
Thieves also take advantage of the festive holidays, especially where people have travelled out of town. In the home, please ensure that windows and doors are securely closed and properly locked before leaving. Besides, do not entertain strangers masquerading as service providers from utility companies.
Nowadays, commercial banks have spread their automated teller machines (ATM) networks. This gives convenience, but be wary of the ATMs surroundings before inserting your card to withdraw money. People have been attacked at such places. Make it a point to transact at ATMs located in busy points than quiet places, especially when it is too early in the morning or getting darker. Better still, embrace digital banking by paying online.
To those who drive, please drive carefully. Observe prescribed speed limits as it is better to be late than “the late”. Do not drink and drive. Above all, do not text-and-drive. Remember, speed thrills, but it also kills.
If you are a passenger on public transport, keep an eye on the drivers as your safety is entrusted in them, as such, do not let them text while driving or indeed consume alcoholic beverages in the line of duty.
To many of us, the festive season coincides with other equally pressing demands such as farm inputs, school fees, rentals and indeed holiday travel.
Be responsible by planning your expenditure, ensuring that the bills are within means. By all means, avoid living large on borrowed money.
Spend wisely. Enjoy responsibly this festive season.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas!