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Monday, December 16, 2013

The Financial Side of Christmas

The festivities are just about the corner and every Kenyan is looking foward to the celebrations. To a large group of Christians, this marks a celebration of the birth of Christ himself while others have dismissed it as a secular celebration with no biblical backing.
Whether Christmas' origin is in the bible or any other spiritual books is not for me to discuss. (The relevant person to engage you in that discusion would be my parish priest). However, whether you believe in it or not, Christmass is here with us and will be there for many more centuries. And you know what? You will be, one way or another, affected by it.

The effects of X-mass are diverse as the mode of celebrating it. The social benefits of  Christmas are obvious, but it is  its economic effects that have drawn my attention. Below, we look at the financial effects of Christmas.

1. Transport: Kenyans are fond of flocking the major cities and towns in search of work and when the festive season arrives, they must join their folk in the villages for these celebrations. December is greeted by fleets of busses to the villages carrying all sorts of people and goods. It is not uncommon to see a Nairobi resident carrying Sukuma Wiki back home.

The players in the transport industry have taken advantage of this to exploit the passengers. It is during Christmas that the fare to your rural home can instantenously double or even tripple, but you still find yourself paying it.

2. Idleness: It is during the festive period that most employees are forced to take leave from work for up to 3 weeks. This turns a hardworking Kenyan citizen into an idler moving from one social gathering to another. If you are tired with your coach, you will find yourself attending wedding ceremonies, harambees and all sorts of parties. All these doesnt help but increase the financial cost of Christmas.

3. Business: Depending on the nature of your business and its location, it can either flop or boom during Christmas. The number of customers in towns drastically reduce as most people travel upcountry while some stay indoors for fear of the bad weather. Any business targeting foodstuff, beauty, transport , money transfer services as well as those located in the villages are set to thrive during Christmas.

4. Expenditure: This is another obvious area affected by Christmas. However deep your pocket is, the festivities will surely leave holes in it. From Christmas attire to food and drinks, the festive season will only present you with reasons to spend. It is because of this expenditure that January has been cursed as a broke month.

5. Offers and promotion: This may turnout to be the only positive financial side of Christmas. It is during this period that retail stores treat  customers to amazing discounts. The clearance sale racks will offer up to 50% discounts. Most supermarkets will either permit redemption of loyalty points or double the amoubt paid per point. There are numerous shopping coupons, gifts and free device services tailored to reward loyal customers. The different lotteries and mini draws can turn you into a millionare this festive season.

Financially, Christmas day and the entire December holiday is not fun for family breadwinners. Business is down, expenditure sky rocket and the best you can hope for is to celebrate a debt free new year. However, with proper financial planning and disciplined expenditure, December can be like any other month.

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