Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

It's been a tough year for South Africans as increases in fuel prices, VAT and interest rates have taken their toll. So it's tempting to reward yourself with a generous holiday in December, even if it means taking on more debt to do so.

But Jimmy Golele, acting manager for education and communication at the National Credit Regulator, says you should spend only what you can afford and avoid buying unnecessary items.

"Additional income such as bonuses, stokvel payouts, and so on, can be used to settle debt and also be saved in platforms that will grow the money, rather than spending it on things you do not need and those that will finish your money," he says.

Golele has the following advice:

• Just because you are on holiday does not mean you should not have a clear budget. Include everything you need to spend money on, such as debt, rent or bond payments, electricity, transport, gifts and entertainment.

• Go shopping with a list and stick to it.

• Prioritise your home loan or rent.

• If you take on more debt, be sure you will be able to afford the repayments.

• This is a good time to start saving towards next year's December holiday.