Lecturer Kebitsamang Sere gives valuable advice on how to avoid overspending this holiday season.

How to avoid the December debt trap

The festive season can be financially taxing and it’s easy to let your holiday spending balloon out of control.

To assist readers to become more conscious of holiday spending traps, lecturer Kebitsamang Sere from the School of Economic Sciences gives a few valuable tips on how to make sure we don’t run up huge debts during December.


“In my opinion we as consumers tend to be impulsive buyers. People tend to get carried away over the festive season, going overboard without a proper plan in place,” says Kebitsamang.


Watch out for ‘Januworry’


“Consumers need to be careful not to fall into the over-indebted trap during the festive season because it will have damaging consequences come January,” she warns.


“Furthermore, should you perhaps receive a year-end bonus, use it wisely. Instead of spending your bonus on unnecessary items during the festive holidays, rather spend it on what is essential, such as stationery, school uniforms and school or tuition fees. Whatever is left can then see you through the long month of January.”


Here are her tips to avoid overspending this holiday season:


  • Put some money away – If possible, save a portion of your salary each month leading up to December to avoid a financial crisis in January.
  • Manage your budget – When you have set up your budget, stick to it. This will help you to keep track of your money so that you know exactly how much you have available to spend.
  • Wait for post-festive season sales – Remember, the festive season is always followed by clearance sales. So, if you need to buy something, rather look for a good deal then.
  • Swear off credit cards – Do not buy something if you cannot afford to buy it in cash. Rather choose to lay-bye (where you take ownership of the goods only after paying it off in small monthly amounts)


Warning to the wise: don’t spend too much over the holidays. If you do, January can be a lean, mean month.


You will find more tips on how to survive the year-end shopping spree in articles published on websites such as MoneyWeb and the SA Savings Institute.