opinionBy Sylvia Juuko
It has been a hard year in many ways, but financial strain has been the biggest issue. So, to get over it, you are probably planning to spoil yourself this festive season.
You reckon that the only way to reward yourself for sweating it out is to purchase that item that has caught your fancy.
Traditionally, the festive season is a time when most people are bitten by a shopping bug that prompts them to spend without abandon. There is nothing wrong with spending, as long as you have planned for it.
Ideally you should have planned for the festive period at the beginning of the year so that it doesn't put a dent in your pocket.
Even with planned expenditure, you have to hunt for bargains. Shoppers usually hope for massive discounts during the festive season. There are a few bold signs announcing sales/ discounts.
Hopefully, these announcements are equally reflected on the price tag on items in their shelves. Don't be duped, some clever retailers announce discounts with the hope of luring customers into the shops.
However, if you can navigate our city, you can soon discover good quality goodies at reasonable prices. The trick is to bargain hunt. On the other hand, those who have the opportunity to travel can take advantage of the huge discount that mega retailing chains unveil during this season.
More to that, if you plan to travel, a number of airlines/tour companies are arranging travel deals for those who choose to change the scenery. Those travelling within the country can book their trips in advance to avoid the rush during the festive season. Uganda has a lot of hot spots to offer the adventurous traveller.
If you do not have enough resources, it's not advisable to borrow to support your expenses. With some imagination, you can celebrate without going into debt.
Another thing to watch out for is fluctuation in prices. You must remember that December is characterised by high consumer demand as people get into the festive mood. It's not a secret that many people head to the village to celebrate Christmas. Given this influx, prices of transport are bound to head north. This must be factored in when planning your festive season expenses.
Another habit to consider adopting is making purchases of gift items throughout the year instead of waiting to buy all the gifts during the festive season. With this option, you can purchase items at a discount and store them for later. You can try that out next festive season. If you are not certain about the gift, you can at least purchase a gift voucher that you can hand out during the holidays. Gifts can also be handmade, if you are a little more creative.
For most people, feasting is part of the celebration. What has worked for some people is taking turns to host people.
You can assign meals/dishes and drinks to each person coming to the event so that you don't have to meet the entire cost of hosting alone. Remember not to focus on feasting at the expense of appreciating what Christmas means.
Irrespective of finances at your disposal, you can create a balance by spending within reason, but at the same time reflecting on the significance of Christmas and the importance of family. With prudent expenditure, you will avoid worrying about post festive season blues.
The writer works with Bank of Uganda