Creating a JanuWOW and avoiding a JanuWORRY!

December 20, 2022

For most people – even around the world – 2022 has been tough and it's easy to fall into the "Januworry" trap. As an insightful blogger pointed out at the beginning of December, very few people started the year “on a full tank”.

However, people the length and breadth of this beautiful country of ours are made of stern stuff. Every day we hear stories of our collective capacity to ‘get-up-and-go’ in the face of turbulence and hardship – and way too much loadshedding for comfort.

But now as we enter the summer break and the festive season, it’s time to embrace the opportunity to rest, recuperate, enjoy the experiences we embark on, and importantly, to make sure that time spent with loved ones is uplifting and positive for everyone.

And, in the interests of starting the new year on a stress-free footing, making sound money decisions throughout the season, particularly in light of seemingly endless price increases at every turn, will make a tremendous difference to our peace of mind and financial well-being.

A Moneyweb podcast by Devon Card on 9 December, titled ‘How to avoid the dreaded Januworry’, makes some insightful suggestions that can be adapted to suit most, if not all, money-conscious people, so that we can “step confidently into 2023”. His suggestions include:

  • Finish the race well

If you’ve made financial mistakes during the year, acknowledge them, bank the lesson, and move forward. Commit to not incurring more bad debt and put an achievable debt reduction plan in place.

  • Take stock of what January will demand from you financially

‘Hoping for the best’ in January is not a financial strategy. Having a clear vision of what January looks like financially will reduce the stress that comes with not knowing, and will allow you to rest easier over the festive break.

  • Develop a festive season budget

Once you have your plans for January in place, you can work backwards to develop an achievable budget for the festive season. Be realistic about what you can afford in terms of holiday costs, gifts and entertainment, and proactively manage the expectations of your loved ones. Brainstorm ideas and come up with creative budget-beating ideas for festive get-togethers that will deliver fun and fellowship without the costs you cannot afford.

  • Use your bonus wisely

If you’re one of the lucky people who is given a bonus or a 13th cheque, think about how best to use the funds and tick all the boxes of your early 2023 expenses before spending it.

  • Get straight out of the starting blocks
    • Proactive planning before the end of the year will allow you to start January well, rather than having to deal with a financial holiday hangover.
    • Create a financial calendar for 2023 so that you can budget and avoid unpleasant surprises.
    • Don’t take bad habits into 2023.
    • Be accountable to yourself. You can’t manage what you can’t measure so track your progress and take responsibility for your money management.

Some of these suggestions may apply to you and some may not, or they may encourage you to add a few of your own strategic decisions to make sure that your January is not Januworry but JanuWOW!

As you look forward to whatever the festive season and early new year holds for you, take into account these words by KwaZulu-Natal’s blogging psychologist, Naomi Holdt, who reminded us that we didn’t start 2022 “on a full tank” as she acknowledges the pandemic overflow:

“Despite it all, you’re still going. (Even on the days you stumble…)

Understanding brings compassion.

Most of the world’s citizens are in need of a little extra TLC at the moment. Most are donning invisible ‘Handle with care’ posters around their necks, and ‘Fragile’ tattoos on their bodies.

Instead of racing to the finish line, tread gently. Go slowly.

Amidst the chaos, find small pockets of silence. Find compassion. Allow the healing. And most of all… be kind. There’s no human being on earth who couldn’t use just a little bit more of the healing salve of kindness.”

On that profound note, all that remains for us at Pple Group to do is wish all our stakeholders – our clients, our partners, our staff – a wonderful festive season, wherever you are and whatever you do. Be safe. Be positive. Be wise. And be happy. There’s always something new to throw into your ‘gratitude basket’.

We look forward to an indomitable 2023 with all of you.