Financially Fit & Fabulous - How to recover from excess holiday spending
Floyd Richards

THE Christmas holidays are always a highly anticipated season with lots of celebrations with family and friends, gift giving and making personal purchases. But, did you overspend during the end of year holidays?

Many of us might have dipped into our savings or incurred some debt during the period while we focused on making everyone happy. If any of this sounds like your family, we have several strategies which will help you on the way to recovery as we embrace a new year.

A comprehensive plan will be needed both to restore your savings, to reduce debt and improve health as the New Year progresses.

Savings strategy

The first thing we would like to address is your spending plan for the year ahead. By now, you realise that all holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and similar celebration periods come with higher spending. Also note  big ticket expense periods like insurance renewals, school fees, car servicing periods. Take pen and paper, or your computer and make a list of what these needs are likely to be in the next 12 months.

Whatever the total may be, you will need to put this in your budget to save towards this expenditure. Divide the total by 11, which is the number of months remaining before major season returns and you will see how much you need to set aside monthly in order to save the sum needed. This is better than borrowing to meet these upcoming demands.

It's best also to save the monthly sum needed in an interest earning investment product than in an ordinary savings account.

Budgeting

The next consideration in your recovery plan is proper budgeting. Having considered your needs, you can also develop a plan which looks at your spending over the coming year and the level of income which will be needed to address these. Budgeting allows you to be more mindful in your spending habits.

If in the process of budgeting you realise that your income is not enough, you should also look at new ways to increase your income

Income generation

Increasing your income is one way to avoid borrowing for your needs. Look at all the skills, talent and resources, including land, available within your family group, as well as your community needs and come together to see how you can put in place new projects to earn more.

Paying down debt

Sometimes the thing preventing you from saving and investing more, or starting a new business is the amount of debt you have. If this is the case then you really need to focus on getting rid of debt so that the way can be cleared for more savings, more investments and also putting funds into a personal business idea.

Get professional advice

A good place to begin and recovery plan for the new year is to have a consultation with your investment advisor and get objective opinion on how to move ahead and what to invest in. If you are thinking of starting a small business, find others who have already started and see what learning you can gain from their journey.

Maintaining health

An important part of your recovery plan is to develop a strategy to improve your health also. If you have added extra weight from the Christmas holidays, this can be addressed by fasting one or two days weekly, exercising and also reducing calorie intake.

Reducing alcohol intake will also cause weight loss and improve your health. In addition, drink more water, reduce salt and sugar intake and maintain an exercise programme.

Mindfulness

In all that we have been saying, we have been emphasising the importance of planning ahead in order to prevent or fix any pitfalls in which you might have fallen in 2021. Be mindful of any unwanted results experienced in the year ended and how they can be avoided in the year ahead.

By looking ahead to your finances and health needs, and making a plan to meet these, you will enjoy a year of peace and happiness with your loved ones' needs all sorted.

Floyd Richards is a licensed Investment Advisor from Scotia Investments Jamaica Limited.

Floyd Richards

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