Use a Zero-based Budget for surviving on your six-week-long stretch.
What’s great about December? Everything! What’s great about January? Nothing! Especially the seven-week (give or take) stretch before your next paycheck. That’s because most people get their paycheck for December early, and that sounds great. Until you think about it – with the sudden influx of money it’s tempting to go tennis balls to the wall.
You risk being depleted two weeks into January, surviving on end-of-the-month Salticrax mid-month.
Well, we have a well-practised technique for you to take into consideration when planning a budget to survive the stretch.
(You do budget, don’t you??)
This isn’t a reference to spending nothing. Or having zero budget (that would be ridiculous, right?). It simply means that when you calculate your income and consider the money that goes to expenses, then whatever is left over is allocated to spending, saving, giving or investing equals zero. In other words, if you earn R50 000, your budget with EVERYTHING taken into consideration, equals R27 000.
1. First, write down every expense. This should be done before you even start spending money from your paycheck. This starts with the “four walls”, which is the metaphoric way of describing the basics: food, alcohol (it is the festive season right?), utilities, internet (this is obviously also an essential), all your subscribed streaming services (Netflix, Showmax, etc.), toiletries, etc.
2. Then account for anything you’ll be spending on special evenings – like the Christmas day lunch.
3. Now that that’s out the way, take clothing into account. You want to consider this as an expense ESPECIALLY at this time of year as blouses get ruined when Uncle Fester has too much wine and bumps into your glass of wine. Which is more difficult to get out than a serious blood stain.
4. Next, consider your luxury items. Last-minute shopping and all that. Budget for things like chocolate here (no, it’s not essential – yes, we agree it should be).
5. You can now tally up this amount and minus it against your income. Then, whatever is left you can spend on anything else important, such as savings including short-term savings and long, and investments, retirement funds, etc. You might want to have a section of savings for holidayecember trips (the next holiday, we mean).
6. Now whatever else is left you spend on yourself and your family (with something set aside for emergencies). What to spend it on, you ask? Well, at the many shops, cafés, and restaurants at Sandton Central, of course!