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Dont let Christmas bust your budget

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The song says it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but if money is tight for you, Christmas can make it very difficult to avoid overspending. Although it may seem like a good idea to splurge on that perfect gift, you will end up paying for it later if you put it on your credit card.

Rather than going into credit card debt this year, make a plan and stick to it, so you stay within your budget and avoid the stress that comes with debt.

How to keep your Christmas spending under control
Set an overall budget: Before you spend a penny this Christmas, take a realistic look at your finances and determine how much money you can afford to spend. If you are committed to not going into debt for the holidays, you will need to use the money you have saved during the year.

If you have not saved any, you can set aside part of your December paychecks to cover Christmas expenses. Write down your spending cap and use this number to inform your other decisions.

Allocate money to travel, decorations and holiday meals: You are probably thinking mostly about gifts, but you will likely have expenses during December that might not be a part of your monthly budget.

Determine how much you will need to spend on travel, whether that be on gas or airfare. Then count up what you will spend on decorations, including the tree, wreaths, lights, and table decorations. Lastly, set aside money to buy special foods for Christmas dinner.

Budget for wrapping materials: You do not want to spend all your gift money and realize you have nothing to wrap the presents with. As much as you can, choose low-cost materials like reused gift bags from last year, brown paper grocery bags, fabric scraps, or the Sunday comics.

If you need to buy wrapping paper, choose paper with a low cost per square foot, and get as few rolls as you need. Dress the gifts up with ribbon, which can add lots of pizzazz to a plain wrapping job.

List people to buy gifts for: Divide your remaining holiday spending money between all the people you want to give gifts to this year. In addition to your immediate and extended family, include any friends, co-workers, neighbors, and service people whom you would like to give something to. The small $5 and $10 gifts can add up, so you need to include everybody in your list.

Set a spending limit for each person on your list: Although it is tempting to write down what you want to give to each person, the better way to approach your list is to decide how much you can spend on each person.

This helps ensure that your money is allocated appropriately between people based on how important they are to you. It would be a shame to spend all your money on your kids because they want flashy expensive gifts and forget about your spouse, who deserves something special too.

Shop sales and get creative to stick to your spending limits: This is probably the most challenging part of the process, but it can also be lots of fun, too. Once you have your budget, it is a bit of a puzzle to figure out how to get everybody a gift he or she will enjoy for the amount you can afford to spend.

Get out the holiday sale ads, shop at garage sales or thrift stores or put your skills to work so you can give each person a meaningful gift. If you happen to find the perfect gift for less than you have budgeted, then add the money to another recipient’s budgeted amount.

This will give you room to stretch a bit for something you had your eye on.

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Matambo calls on financial sector to pick GDP

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Finance Minister, kenneth Matambo

Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo has announced that government is committed to support financial service sector to prop up the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Currently contributing over 13 percent to GDP, Matambo said the sector has potential to increase its share. “Hence government’s interest in the sector,” said Matambo addressing delegates at the inaugural Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), Global Financial Summit.

The country has built a strong, resilient and fast growing financial sector underpinned by a robust regulatory framework. The finance minister who is expected to step down next year, noted that government’s commitment to the financial service sector has this year been buttressed by a number of laws passed in July relating to money laundering activities.

In addition, Matambo said the continued investment in the development of information, communication and technologies (ICTs) backbone infrastructure is also to support local banks’ rising appetite for online services.

The Minister said the country remains committed to maintaining micro-economic stability to spur private sector participation in the economy. “Our vision is to become a high income country by 2036,” said Matambo, challenging the private sector to step forward and help government to develop the country, bemoaning the low levels of financial inclusion and shallow domestic capital markets.

He said the private sector should come up with more initiatives to develop further the local capital markets. The Minister’s sentiments were also shared by Martin Davies, Managing Director for Emerging Markets and Africa at Deloitte who has challenged the country to start dealing with its low manufacturing value add.

“How do we start to diversify beyond the single commodity economy,” quizzed Davies, adding that manufacturing increase is vital for low inequality across the country.

“Inequality results in bad public policy, as the state starts to believe and think they have to intervene more,” said Davies, highlighting that the country needs to move away from the absolute concept of state drive growth. Meanwhile, minister Matambo has applauded the private sector for leading economic dialogue in the country through events such as the BIHL Global Finance Summit.

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First Lady advises women entrepreneurs

Keikantse Lesemela

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First lady, Neo Masisi

First Lady, Neo Masisi has urged women entrepreneurs to bring change in the economic development of the country and the rest of Africa.

Speaking during the Lioness Lean in Africa breakfast on Friday, Masisi said women entrepreneurs are remarkable engines of economic growth and job creation. “I believe women entrepreneurs hold incredible potential and credentials on the continent because Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world.

It is projected that millions of much needed jobs will be created over the next decade and these will be created predominantly through small businesses which are mostly run by women,” said Masisi.She highlighted that women entrepreneurs are also the most powerful engine for equitably distributing growth and they are also solutions for addressing inequality on the continent.

“It is a proven fact that for many generations, women understand the simple concept of barter and commerce. These are the role models of our past and our present and they will continue to inspire new generations to do more for business to grow,” she said.

The Lioness Lean In Breakfast Series brings together inspirational and successful women entrepreneurs to share, inspire and connect with the next generation of great women-led start-ups.

The platform is based on a breakfast networking and speaker presentation format, which has been organized in locations across the African continent for the past year by Lionesses of Africa, empowering over one million women entrepreneurs across the continent.

Stanbic Bank Botswana Head of Personal Markets, Omphemetse Dube said they are pleased to bring the Lionesses of Africa Lean In platform to Botswana once again to bring together women entrepreneurs in the country and help to nurture their growth further.

“Botswana is blessed with a number of thriving female entrepreneurs, and the potential for the next generation of talent is strong. Platforms such as this are therefore paramount in growing the cause and we as a bank are proud to help champion that movement further,” said Dube.

Founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa,Melanie Hawken noted that Gaborone is a growing and exciting centre for women’s entrepreneurship in Africa. “This is a must-attend event for women entrepreneurs in the country as it gives them the opportunity to hear the inspiring entrepreneurial stories of women who are building great businesses here,” she said.

The annual Lionesses of Africa event allows entrepreneurs to benefit from the insights and advice of women entrepreneurs who have seen and experienced it all and to also provide an excellent opportunity for networking.

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