Ember months and your budget

Before every year ends, especially during the ember months, every society experiences period of slush funds and extra spending. PELUMI BOLAWA writes on how spending could be moderated during this time

Ember months have no connection with whether money stays in one’s hand or not. All months are the same. The level of one’s wealth is not measured by the amount in the bank, but how it is spent. It also depends on one’s level of financial discipline.

It is general knowledge that the ember months come with array of spendings that are not compulsory. It activates the aura for shopping. Also, Christmas that is celebrated in the last week of the year, being a season of love and sharing, makes visits and giving to family and friends part of year end rituals.


Lure of promo

At this time, most people plan to replace their clothes, household furniture and equipment, especially as different companies  promote their products through discounts.

A fashion designer, Stephen Agha, admits that he spends more in December than every other month.

“I have to cater for some people that I was not been to touch during the year, with gifts or cash, to let them know that I have them in mind. Two weeks or three weeks to the end of the year, I go shopping.

“During that time, companies usually run promo, which pushes people to buy more. That is the time I do my shopping for the next year. As long as fashion is concerned, I do my shopping for the subsequent year in December to save myself hassles of the next year,” he stated.


How to spend

However, even as spending is high at this period, it is good to shop wisely and not spend beyond one’s income.

The following are a few steps to take for the end of year spending.


Budget and saving

One of the ways to regulate excessive and unnecessary spending is to have a structured budget for yourself and your family.

A budget is also referred to as a spending plan, which gives one the opportunity to not only plan in terms of excess spending, but also to keep track of spending.

To avoid disappointments, tell family members about your budget for the year and how you have decided to execute it.

While budgeting, ensure you provide separate account for the festive period apart from the regular spending. Structure it well to suit the period and  the increased activities.

A proper savings plan can save a person from the danger of being broke as the year wraps up.


Create more than buy

Since you know gifts are most notable during festive periods, engage more in making gift cards yourself than going into supermarkets to buy. As a parent, you can make your skilled children to create designs with paints and papers, to reduce the cost of buying.  If you are artistic, you can design cards yourself.

Also, in terms of food, you may do well to prepare your own food rather than going to restaurants.


Early buying

It is not compulsory to wait till the year ends before engaging in shopping for the festive yuletide. Sometimes, it is good to start picking your needs early to avoid rush. However, this is most advisable in terms of non-perishable goods.


Understand need for spending

As an individual, you must be sure of what you are committing your finance to and why. Know whether it is something that could wait till the following year or a necessity.


Virtual celebration

With the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease, movement was restricted across the world. People started moving into the virtual space. Many organisations and businesses operated from home, and different online applications were developed to aid this.

To reduce the cost of travelling to meet people in person, you can hold a virtual celebration with your relatives and friends. These applications can be used to save more money without bank charges.

Second, as the world is also growing in terms of financial inclusion, you may also save cost by ordering products online.

Pelumi Bolawa
Pelumi Bolawa
Pelumi Bolawa is a content developer, writer, researcher and photographer. An intern at Financial Street, Pelumi is also a development administrator.

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