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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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‘Manufacturing holds key to economic growth’

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Barclays bank’s economist Naledi Madala has urged the country to consider manufacturing, as a key tailwind to drive the economy and reduce inequality.

She was speaking at a gathering organised by the bank which focused on economic outlook for 2019. “We should not make a mistake of leapfrogging without manufacturing,” said Madala, lamenting that the country’s diversification remains a pipeline dream, as the diamond is still the economy’s mainstay. She bemoaned that mining activities in the country could not spring forward diversification, though non-mining GDP has been steady over the years.

“Extractive industries are not good stepping stones for diversification, the sector does not prepare us for the next step,” said Madala at the Barclays’ Economic Outlook Forum Review 2019. The economist further noted that government should confront head-on challenges of productivity and competitiveness to attract the much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Though diversification efforts continue to hit a brick wall, Madala said the country should expect increased activities in the mining sector hinged to ramp up in coal production in the year ahead.

She also implored government to consider a welcoming attitude towards foreign investors and generous tax incentives to businesses that set up in the country. Madala is also upbeat that the use of public private partnership model could also help diversify the economy coupled with privitisation. “Privitisation will offer opportunities for growth, through the renewed optimism from government, as business confidence has improved,” said Madala.

She implored the government and the business community to access what is going to drive and hinder growth highlighting that key headwinds to growth are income inequality, diversification challenge and productivity, among others. “The pace of poverty reduction has slowed down, while income inequality goes up,” said Madala

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MINISTER BEWAILS BAD REPAYMENT BY YOUTH

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama has told parliament his ministry continues to face challenges on the repayment of Youth Development Fund (YDF) loans.

Recently presenting the budget to Parliament, Khama said this financial year the ministry has received a total of 2582 YDF applications and approved 983of them to the value of P98 million. He said the programme attracts a high level of interest from youth but the ministry is only limited to funding a maximum of 1200 youth projects annually due to budget limitations.

“However the greatest challenge for the Fund is the repayment of the loan component by the majority of the youth businesses. The youth have advanced number of challenges for this including high rentals for operating spaces, low market access owing to tight competition and limited production capacities,” said Tshekedi, adding that they continue to pursue beneficiaries to repay the loans.

Out of the 919 businesses funded 1058 jobs have been created. The minister highlighted that disbursements of funds will continue to be undertaken until the end of the financial year. “The YDF is currently under review in line with the pronouncement made by the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in the State of the Nation Address, to improve beneficiaries through training, and encourage consortia and cooperatives,” said Tshekedi.

The ministry assists YDF beneficiaries in marketing their products and services through fairs and exhibitions. The ministry also runs entrepreneurship-training seminars for youth and in the past year 3692 young people were trained. Over 600 youth businesses attended fairs and exhibitions to market their products and services. Currently the ministry is collaborating with Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), First National Bank Botswana and Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) on training in entrepreneurship development and mentorship of YDF beneficiaries.

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