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Make merry at own risk this Christmas

Free advice, in case you have not already overspent

In Summary

• With household incomes lost or reduced, financial prudence is of utmost importance

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
Image: STAR ILLUSTRATED

It’s Christmas Eve and, therefore, for many people, probably too late to be telling you about holding back on the spending.

Unless you are really those last-minute dot com people, who leave it to the last possible moment to buy gifts, you’ve probably been shopping and overshot your limit.

Of course if you work somewhere where they only paid you today, whatever advice that follows may still be on time. Though if you have children or others who are expecting some sort of sikukuu from you, all I can say is pole sana.

I was chewing the fat with a colleague the other day when the issue of when salaries come in December came up. 

Ok. Card on the table, the aforementioned colleague actually works with payroll and I was attempting to make small talk, but really fishing for vital information.

As regular readers probably know by now, I’m not really a fan of the festive season. I know I am in a minority, because among all the people I know, even the non-Christians tend to get excited at this time of the year.

By the way, I’m not against others celebrating the season, I just don’t enjoy being forced into the lies, the spending of money I barely have and the hype. 

It was all very well as a child, but by the time I was seven or eight, I had figured out that the whole Father Christmas thing was a con. 

First, there was the chimney business. I knew nobody who lived in a house with a fireplace and a chimney. 

Then later, there was the whole debate about if it was even the correct date to be celebrating the birthday of the carpenter's son.

In fact, if people are honest, they will admit that nobody knows when the Nazarene was actually born as it is not recorded in any of the gospels or in any other historical reference. 

But I digress. 

The point of my story was not to rant about whether Father Christmas is real or if the arbitrary date of December 25 should be changed. 

What I was trying to say is that having seen how people suffer financially from January 1 to “Januworry 59” (aka February 28), if it were up to me, people would get paid on the same date in December as all other months. 

That way, the first couple of months of the New Year wouldn’t always be so miserable. But it’s not up to me and the people want what they want.

But you’d think that after an exceptionally difficult 2020, it would be easier for people to resist the urge to go overboard and that spending sensibly could mean a better 2021, especially given that there’s still a lot of economic uncertainty due to the virus.

I don’t know what it is like where you are, but in many places around the world, one of the worst consequences of the pandemic has been one or more income earners in a household losing their income or having it reduced.

I am not a financial adviser, but I do have experience in being broke because of foolish spending. So all I will say is that the financially prudent will be careful about overspending during the festive season in an effort to stretch every coin until the next payday at the end of January.

Those who are not will have a very merry Christmas in the hope that tomorrow takes care of itself, and I say good luck to them.

Of course, there may not be any need to worry about spending as the coronavirus that ruined the rest of the year for all except the Covid-billionaires, may have finally taught us a lesson in how not to overspend at Christmas.

I guess we’ll have to wait until mid-January to see.

Follow me on Twitter @MwangiGithahu