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Live within means during festive season

Staying out of debt should be the goal of every consumer, regardless of the time of year. However, as the festive season approaches consumers fall victim to the spirit of the silly season, and with 13th cheques in their pockets too, they readily go with the flow and somehow drum up the notion that all slates are automatically cleared when the clock strikes twelve.

There are a large percentage of consumers who sometimes with the best intentions and the best credit track records fall into the trap of festive season debt. "This whole living for the moment marketing campaign has gone too far, especially since modern medicine and generally improved living standards has enabled individuals to live for many more moments than they may care to imagine. In this regard, consumers need to pace themselves and plan more than ever before," comments Stuart Kantor, MD of Kanan Wealth.

Consumers need to live within their means and budget on a regular basis. Correct budgeting will help with the 'financial hangover' that is always experienced in January. "I suggest trying to at least split any bonus received over December and January. A humorous but relevant tip would be that if you can delay spending in December, then you may be able to start a small business as lender of last resort in January," Kantor says.

Shop online

The growth of e-commerce and online retailers such as including daily deals sights in South Africa are helping consumers access better deals and products at good prices, quick delivery, and allows them to compare products and prices from different retailers at the click of a button. "I like the idea of shopping online as I do feel you can access better deals; however, what I really like most of all is the idea of setting a daily spend limit drawing cash or posting a sign above your computer and when the limit is reached, it is reached."

Credit cards are like little soldiers marching you one day at a time closer to your ruler. That is, every time you swipe, you become less free. Results from the Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor for 2013 show that 29% of their survey sample have at least one credit card, 62% have at least one store card and 17% have a personal loan from a financial institution.

Excellent brand managers

"Consumers are not as advanced as we may like to think. The media and excellent brand managers have easily tricked us into buying their TV realities and accepting a status quo that we have begun to serve, such as mounds of presents under the Christmas tree. Good financial planning starts with mindfulness and making your own good choices," Kantor concludes.

The majority of consumers are under the impression that financial planning and saving is a burden and no fun, however Kanan Wealth are kicking off a 'Savings is Cool' campaign to help consumers, families, individuals and even kids understand debt, spending wisely and how financial planning and handling your finances can become fun and rewarding for the 2014 year ahead.

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