“And I saw mummy kissing Santa Claus, underneath the mistletoe snowy white
She did not see me creep down the stairs to have a peep,
She thought that I was tucked up in my bedroom fast asleep…
“Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, had a bright and shiny nose
And if you ever saw it, you would see it as it glows…”
Welcome to the season of good tidings and general feeling of expectancy. You may be wondering ‘Hey! Hold it! Christmas is about four months away, but you know what, you need to start planning before the big event comes and knocks you round the corner. I don’t know about you but Christmas is a time for me to let loose and become a child again because I always walk around feeling blessed and generally having a feeling of positive expectations about future events yet to happen. Starting from next week, we’ll be waking up with Christmas jingles; carols and social events all planned around this special festive season.
Pick up your books and dust it for its time for another round of shopping galore for food items, Christmas trees and accessories, presents for our loved ones, vacations and weddings e.t.c. One of the savings goals I planned for this year was to set up a separate savings account through which I’ll be depositing a monthly savings of N2,000 to take care of xmas expenses. Eight months down the year and I am yet to get started. If you’re in my position and you’re dreading the extravagant expenses that comes with the season, there’s no better time to start saving than today.
I’ve decided to shelve the idea of opening an account till next year. Starting from this month, I’ll be leaving 5% of my income in my current account to take care of sudden expenses that may come up during the season. I’m leaving this stated sum cos it’ll deter me from writing out a check until I’ve reached my target sum for Christmas. I usually advise women, that we start buying most of the non-perishable items we’ll need during the season right now.
If you’ll be inviting extended family, this is the time to stock up on groceries, household cleaning supplies, toiletries, food items, presents, sweets and chocolates for the kids. Local markets such as Oke –Arin, Balogun, Mushin, Akilapa markets offer great shopping bargains if you’re buying in bulk. You may also decide to buy your beef or poultry in advance via storage in your deep freezer till when you need it. For your poultry and beef purchases, I usually advise that you marinate as soon as you buy by using the following items;
- Ginger (fresh)
- Salt and Seasoning
Grate or blend these items and marinate your poultry. Leave for an hour or more depending on your preferences.
Family outings – there are innumerable offers and discounts offered by various entertainment outfits trying to outdo one another. So look at all your available options and choose an outing that will enhance family bonding. I intend to see a lot of movies this Christmas, so I’ll certainly be looking out for cool deals from Silverbird Galleria and Nu Metro Media at The Palms. If you’re a bookworm like me, this is the season to get the best sellers at an affordable rate as a result of discount sales that’ll be ongoing.
Traveling to the village – bear in mind that you’ll be incurring greater expenses due to fuelling, cash gifts to relatives and other food items you’ll be taking to the village. It’s also advisable to travel with a first aid box to take care of the occasional headaches, slight fever, cold and catarrhs due to the harmattan period. So, 5% of your monthly income may not be adequate unless you stretch it to 10%.
Entrepreneur – your business has clocked a year or more, six months and you’ve received an encouraging patronage; this is the best time to reward your loyal customers or clients for pitching their tents with you. However, there is no need to rob the bank to do this; I know it’s customary to give out hampers but why not beat the market by packaging the hampers yourself thereby reducing overhead cost. You may also deviate from the norm by giving out indigenous packaged food items and if your valued customers have kids, you may throw in a book or two. Your customers will stay glued to you cos it shows that you’re thinking about their entire well-being.
Vacations – if you’ll be traveling outside the country, this is the best time to don on your goggle cap by searching for incredible airline offers, best bargain for hotel or apartment deals and sightseeing offers that will not deplete your wallets. Did I leave anything out? Yeah, possibly but before you start dreaming about the Christmas cakes, chicken wings and laps you’ll be feasting on, remember to leave at least a month’s salary in your account if you’re single and two months salary if you’re married to take care of the “January blues”. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Merry Xmas in Advance dear readers!