That title should read, everything you need to make your holiday a success and not be broke in January. In writing this post I’m making one assumption; that you celebrate Christmas.
December is a great time. From the 1st of December, there’s this panicky feeling I’ve observed among most people (who have a source of income and bills to pay and people looking at them like, ‘won’t you drop?’. This feeling is hidden under all the ’16 days to Christmas’ tweets and ‘I can’t wait to go home for the hols’ posts.
Truth is December is the one month in which we spend the most. In fact some people save all year and blow all of it in December.
The goal is not to not spend money, that is almost impossible. The goal is to make sure that by the time you return to base in January, you will not have to drink garri morning, afternoon and night and be tweeting about how January is the longest month of the year.
Preferably you should have started planning mid-year for the holidays. But if you haven’t below are a few tips I intend to implement and you could try too.
- Set Limits for Total Holiday Spending: The way I plan to do this is to make a list of all my expenses for the holidays. Bus tickets, gifts for family members, ‘Aunty Happy Christmas’ money (I intend to change N100 notes for this), etc, and a little extra for just in case. I’ll transfer this money to my spending account and carry just that ATM card with me when I travel.
- Make My Own “Naughty” or “Nice” Lists: It’s not everyone that’ll get something from me this year. I will bless them with my presence instead. ‘Ah you come from Lagos, wetin you carry come?’ will be met with ‘Myself. Abi we no go thank God say we see another Christmas?’ And then I’ll burst into a worship song.
- Budget Based on My Own Finances: It is not a competition. I cannot come and die because there’s someone else that came from Lagos too and is sharing ‘goodwill’ left, right and centre. I am not a Shell worker. In fact I should make several t-shirts with ‘I am a writer’ and wear them all through the hols.
- Give My Time: Pay visits to uncles and aunts and spend some time with them. I believe they’ll appreciate it more than a bottle of Schnapps (not sure about this one but what can I do?
Christmas is about family, friends and food (and Jesus too. Let’s not forget Jesus). The plan is to avoid all stress related activities and people, have fun and return back to the city with great memories. And enough money left in my account to face January squarely.