Most people often ponder in regret over their holiday spending come January and somehow still find themselves in the same cycle, year in year out. RAMONA MWAREY, the Head of Products at Absa bank speaks to Harriet Ogayo on smart personal finance moves to help you sail through the holidays and start off the New Year right.

Having worked in the banking industry for 17 years, Ramona Mwarey is a seasoned banker with experience that cuts across several departments, as she climbed up the ranks to now manage product development at Absa bank. Her role is essentially leading a team in addressing the needs of the customer through innovative products such as the Absa One current account.

Due to her environment, once she learnt that she needed to manage her money well and the steps to take to actualize her goals in terms of budgeting, saving and investing, she has never looked back. She shares some great tips on personal finance especially during the holidays.

  1. Save. Save. Save

“One of the things that sets people back when it comes to personal finances is not saving and especially for the holidays when we tend to spend a lot of money travelling, shopping or eating out,” she says.

According to her, the first step to getting your finances in order is budgeting for all your expenses, including holiday expenditure and saving for the future. One should take a decision to open a savings account, which is free to support in driving the discipline in saving. The best way to go about this, she advises, is having a standing order, which is free with the Absa One account, instead of relying on memory to remit your savings.

2. Repay your debts- you may have to sacrifice a few things for a while

In the event that one may be caught up in debt, Absa offers debt amalgamation, which gives a fresh start when it comes to paying off debts.

“You find that sometimes these small debts when put together set you back and delay your financial goals. In such cases we work with you to come up with a repayment plan of up to 84 months. For instance, instead of making some purchases this holiday season that may sink you deeper into debt, you can sacrifice a few things well into the following year to pay the debt,” she explains.

3. Find creative ways to make extra income

With the economic impact of Covid-19 on many households, the seasoned banker recommends evaluating your current financial status and working with your family to ensure budget reduction during the holidays. This could be as simple as a home-cooked meal over eating out. Additionally, families can find creative ways to make money such as baking, cooking etc for people  who would rather avoid the hassle.

image: Squarespace

4. Have a separate holiday savings plan

According to her, the trick to holiday expenditure is to save up for the holiday way before it gets here and when it does, avoid debt by planning your expenditure. She recommends the 50-30-20-rule, which helps with budgeting finances. According to personal finance experts, 50 percent of one’s income should be allocated to essentials like recurrent bills, 30 percent for discretionary purchases then the rest should be diligently allocated to saving, which is exclusive of holiday savings.

5. Know your priorities

“Learn your priorities during this holiday season and budget for those diligently until you get better at it. It may be tempting to spend but be intentional about how you want to cross over to the New Year,” she advises.

Image:Freepik

Tips for people in business

For those in business, especially SMEs, Ramona recommends taking advantage of Absa’s Wezesha Biashara programme or Business Club which offers empowering platforms to educate people running SMEs and help them streamline their personal finances, as well as take care of the needs of the business. Customers also get access to a relationship manager who advises on the best financial solutions based on their life stages/ business position to ensure that one is provided with the solutions that would benefit them at that particular stage.

Account Highlights

•   The Absa One current account is one of ABSA’s innovative products for businesses and individuals that comes with a free savings account.
• Absa One offers a range of benefits such as no monthly charges and no minimum balances, easy accessibility , simplicity and secure banking through use of biometrics.
• Absa One also offers a reward mechanism on use of ABSA’s banking solutions.
Absa sustainability commitment
• Absa One offers unsecured facilities from as low as Ksh50,000 to six million for up to seven years.
* For more tips on banking,loans, interest rates, account management and bank products or promotions visit www. absabank.co.ke or any Absa branch countrywide.
* You can also send your feedback on this article and other topics you would like Absa bank to address to: editorial@parents.co.ke or Visit our social media @ParentsAfrica and send us your enquiry via our inbox.

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