• Connect with Cosmo



Twitter Facebook
Gallo Images/Thinkstock Images

Avoid The Spending Hangover

With the season officially upon us, you'd have to be Jeremiah Scrooge not to be seduced by the sparkly baubles, Boney M and catalogues of beautiful things you never knew you needed - not to mention your obligation to buy gifts, show up with champers and have at least a few new items to pack in your holiday suitcase. But, despite all these extra expenses, many companies no longer offer a Christmas bonus or a thirteenth cheque - so you still have all your normal bills to pay, plus you have to cough up for a whole lot more. The result? A 'spending hangover,' which lasts well into the New Year. But there are ways of safeguarding yourself from financial overindulgence. 'It's all about planning,' says Hein du Plessis, managing director of DebtSafe, an extensive network of debt counsellors who operate across South Africa. 'Following a few simple steps will ensure you that your New Year starts on a clean slate - free of any unnecessary financial burdens from the festive season.'

Compile a Budget - and Stick To It Once you have worked out your monthly budget you can calculate how much you can realistically afford to set aside to purchase gifts for loved ones. Your intentions may be good, but the reality is that most people have a depressing amount of debt because they buy gifts they can't really afford and which they battle to pay off later.
Set Spending Limits
Decide Where To Shop


Why not improvise and create your own gifts? Stuff you've put time, thought and love into counts for a lot more than something you grabbed at the Spar and shoved in a used 'Merry Xmas' bag. Here are some ideas that even the most creatively challenged can pull off:

Cards: At about R30 a pop, Christmas cards cost a bomb. Instead, use that money to buy cardboard, ribbons and glitter glue. Gather a bunch of girlfriends, chip in for a bottle of zesty white and have a card-making party using old cards, pics cut out of magazines and images sourced online. It's probably been ages since any of you did anything creative, and you'll be surprised at how much fun it is.

Biscuits: Ask your gran for her gingerbread biscuit recipe. Then, put them in recycled glass containers like jam or mayo jars wrapped in ribbons or colourful paper and with your awesome, handmade card attached – it becomes a personal and very special gift for someone you care about.

Scrapbook Collage:
If the gift is for a much-loved family member or a special friend, collect photographs and mementos, and use scrapbooking elements to create a 'memory montage'. The look on their faces when they open this thoughtful gift will be worth every second of the time it took to make it.

Wrapping Paper:
The bought kind is a waste of money, and hard on the environment. Instead, wrap gifts in plain brown paper or even newspaper. Adorn the present with a brightly coloured ribbon, and before you leave the house pick a flower or a small branch of ivy from the garden and tuck it under the ribbon – a simple touch that looks pretty and festive.

Author: Susan Hayden
Avoid A Spending Hangover This New Year!

With Christmas shopping, a bursting social calendar and new outfits for all those parties, December can be an expensive month. Read More

6 Ways to Manage Your Cash Over the Holidays

Here are some finance-friendly tips to keep your holiday spending under control. Read More

Silly Season Gift Ideas for Under R100

Buying cool gifts doesn’t have to melt down your credit card Read More

What To Do With Your Bonus

If you're lucky enough to get a year-end bonus, make sure you spend it wisely. Consider these tips from Sughendree Reddy, Head of Personal Banking at Standard Bank. Read More



I'm a football journalist, fresh off my studies and starting my life journey. I have an immense...


I still believe in old school morals and values. A lady should be treated with respect. Looking for...


I guess you're reading this to find out about me. There is sooo much but lets get to the basics. I'm...


Want to meet new people and whatever happens after that happens. You must enjoy life and everyday...


Thomas Wesley Pentz/Diplo

Home Town
Tupelo, Mississippi
Star Sign
Music, fashion and design
Capture your memories (and share the good times)

Canon's new vid cams are so gorgeous (and tiny) - a must-take-along for festivals! And good times of every description