Make the most of what you have.
That’s the suggestion from chartered accountant Malika Chow to parents and guardians who may have limited money but want to ensure their children/wards enjoy Christmas Day and the holidays that follow.
With the shopping day left till Christmas, the owner of My Way Consulting Limited said that individuals who may be in full time jobs after being unemployed, furloughed or working part-time during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, should avoid splurging on gifts and food for their children.
“Make your own memories and create your own family traditions! You don’t have to be in matching pajamas opening a truckload of gifts. You could be making pancakes, watching Christmas classics, and unpacking a stocking of small gifts and goodies,” she said.
“If the pandemic taught us anything, is how quickly things can change and we must be financially prepared for times of uncertainty. Christmas is an annual celebration; it doesn’t take us by surprise therefore it shouldn’t be treated as an emergency that warrants us dipping into our emergency savings or taking on consumer debt.
“Splurging during the holiday season is often a sign that a budget is not in place, or that we weren’t realistic with how much money should be allocated for food, gifts, and festivities. Have a set amount in mind of how much you intend spend over the holidays and try to stick to it,” said Chow in an interview with The Nation.
The accountant said younger children who might have a long wish lists of gifts they would like to receive this Christmas did not have to be left out of conversations regarding their parent’s/guardian’s financial situation. She noted the matter of limited money could be done using age-appropriate terms.
“Having the conversation is always a good start, don’t avoid the conversation thinking that your child is too young to understand. Children do notice changes in the household, and they make comparisons at school. Explain that circumstances are different for us, stating the reason why. Help them to understand that until we have more money coming in, we have to be careful with how much we spend. Try to get them involved in the budgeting and saving process,” she stated.
The chartered accountant, who posts simple to understand tips on various financially related topics on her Instagram and Facebook pages, is also suggesting activities that families can enjoy for the holiday the season without having to shell out lots of money or any money at all.
“There’s so much we can do over the holidays without breaking the bank. Movie night, rewatching some of your family favourites, beach day, themed games night or a night out in Bridgetown to take in the Christmas trees display. [We can also] bake cookies, watch a free firework display, find a signature event such as Carols by Candlelight (now you can even watch the show online) or a church service to attend,” Chow said. (GBM)