You had a good financial plan going into this festive season, but somehow you are way in over your head, and it's not even the new year yet.
Before you spend any further, pause and ask yourself these three questions:
1. Do I have enough still tucked away for school fees, uniforms, stationery and such expenses?
Do you have enough for January essentials including school-related expenses for your children, transport money and food?
Keep this money where you know you will not be tempted to touch it -- whether it be in a bank notice account, with a loved one you trust –– or you can try the option of a delayed stokvel payout, suggests FNB's head of consumer education, Eunice Sibiya.
Do not have the attitude of "I'll deal with it when January comes", as using this money on temporary pleasures directly affects you, your children's education and their stomachs -- and that's costly.
2. How much can I realistically still afford to spend?
If you can no longer afford to spend on luxuries, do not indulge yourself. "There's no point in booking a five-star luxury getaway on your credit card, if you're unsure how you'll pay for it when you return," cautions Thami Cele, head of savings and investments at Absa.
Cele also advises against dipping into savings to cover holiday expenses, as this may come with the risk of more financial stress in January "when you don't have a buffer for unexpected bills".
3. Do I really need to eat out, buy this pair of shoes or attend that concert?
More than 60 percent of South Africans are said to spend more than 75 percent of their income servicing debt, Sibiya points out.
So if you are already over-indebted, skipping that pair of shoes or that dinner date wouldn't be a bad idea, she advises.
Self-imposed house arrest is a solution people must not be afraid of, she says.