So we have now finished all the Chagim and are eagerly awaiting Chanuka, but is our bank account ready for another Chag?  For the whole month of October we had 10 days which were either Shabbatot or Chagim.  This meant most of our time we spent either shopping, cooking or the fun bit of eating all the tasty food.  So what happened to our waist line, we put on an average of 2-4 kgs.  Wait, I’m a family financial advisor and not a dietitian why am I am talking about food??????  We all know what we need to do in order to lose those extra kgs and get back to our weight, but what do you do with your bank account?

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This year, because it was a leap year, the Chagim started in October and not September.  Therefore, we had some time to recover from the summer holidays and for some of you, the children going back to school with the purchase of school books and school uniform.  It also gave us an opportunity to buy some of the food for October in September.  Though for the majority of the population the end of the Chagim starts the beginning of how on earth do we get rid of this overdraft?  So here are some tips:

If you generally manage your bank account so that it does not go into minus and only dipped into your overdraft to cover the Chagim expenses then you need to plan your expenditure to make sure that it covers the overdraft.  Tip: try lowering your food bill for the next couple of months. With a little effort you can save on this major expense. Or look for other places in your budget where you can save such as entertainment and clothes bills.

If you find you have gone into a more serious overdraft, then it is important to identify the problem before you get any deeper in.   Start off by reviewing your income and your expenses and see where the money is being allocated.  Decide on what sum you need to allocate each month in order to cover the overdraft in 4-6 months.  Tip: it is important to take into consideration unplanned expenses and put aside for this even when you are trying to cut back. It is a good idea to re-assess every 2 months to make sure you are staying on track in paying back your overdraft in the specified time period. If you are finding this difficult, consider consulting a professional. The money you spend on this will be paid back many times over in the suggestions, advice and practical tips they will give you on cutting costs.

The last stage is when you have reached a situation where you find yourself heavily in overdraft and don’t see a way out.  At this stage, you have to take measures to get your finances under control.  Nowadays, there are many organizations that can offer assistance and guidance such as banks, family financial advisors or social organizations and institutions that deal with family budgeting. It is important to deal with the issues, with a professional if necessary, and prevent yourself from going deeper into overdraft. With careful planning you will be able to get yourself out of debt.

Warning: do not use the method of – the problem has deteriorated so badly that we need to take care of it.  Since if you nip the problem in the bud the time span to rectify the problem will be so much shorter than when you have to deal with the problem since it has become uncontrollable.