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4 Money Saving Hacks To Make The Most Of The Festive Season

Nov 3, 2023 | Money

As the festive season fast approaches, many South Africans are preparing for their holiday shopping and celebrations. However, with the high cost of living, it can be challenging to enjoy this time of year without breaking the bank.

Rather than missing out on all the opportunities to feast, make memories, and enjoy the age-old tradition of gift giving because things have become far too expensive, we can assist you with a variety of money saving hacks. Use our tips and advice, spread across affordable meal planning, budget-friendly shopping, and a more cost-effective approach to all those festive extras, so you can avoid all the financial stress associated with this time of year.

Get Your Money Saving Strategy Ready

It’s not possible to achieve anything on a tight budget without a strategy, so with that in mind, we highly recommend that you start by planning ahead and making lists of everything you need to buy. Split your lists into Food, Shopping, and Extras and jot down everything that’s needed. You’ll quickly spy out the items you can borrow, reuse from your own home, nab secondhand, and buy new.

Part and parcel of planning is the time-honoured tradition of setting a budget. Decide how much you want to (or can) spend on each planning category, as this will help you avoid overspending.

With these two essential keys, you’ll be ready to face the rest of your festive tasks and come out the other side with more than two pennies to rub together.

Affordable Meal Planning

Take the time to plan your meals in advance. This way you can create an affordable menu, steer yourself away from expensive dishes and ingredients, and shop around for the best grocery deals. You could also consider hosting a ‘potluck,’ where each person (or family) brings a dish they enjoy to the table.

This is a great way to save money on food and spend time with loved ones.

Budget-Friendly Shopping

There’s no arguing with the fact that buying gifts can cause your bank account to take an impressive hit. If you know that you need to keep a tight rein on your spending, then you need shop smart.

Money saving, smart shopping hacks:

  • Go For the Deals: Make it a rule to only buy promotions, offers, and sales, because this time of year is flush with specials, so there’s no need to pay full price unless absolutely necessary.
  • DIY Gifts: Consider making your own gifts, such as homemade jams or baked goods, which saves money and adds that personal touch.
  • Coupons and Discounts: Look for coupons and discounts to help you save money on essential expenses, such as groceries and transport.
  • Shop Secondhand: Consider purchasing secondhand gifts, either from your local thrift store or online. This is a great way to reduce waste and save money. Great examples of online ‘thrifting’ while also giving back to charities are Facebook groups such as Goods 4 Good and DOXIFIED SA Online Gift & Novelty Shop.
  • Give the Gift of Time: Show your love and appreciation (without spending money) by offering to babysit or cook a meal for a loved one.

The Extras

You know, it’s not always the usual suspects that bring your bank balance down to zero. It’s all the extras that you didn’t budget for. We’re talking about the décor, festive activities, and all the other bits and bobs.

Take decorations, for example. Hunt for festive greenery and pinecones around your garden (or your local park) to bring the joy of the season into your home, or you could consider renting décor from a local party rental company instead of spending a whack on buying these items. You could even go the free route by making your own decorations, such as paper snowflakes or popcorn garlands. This is a great way to save money and add a personal touch to your decorations.

Another great idea that tends to cost more than you think is the gift-wrapping. You could use sustainable gift-wrapping options, such as brown paper or fabric, to reduce waste and save money.

The final major money-draining extra is what you get up to with the family. Look for free activities in your community, such as holiday light displays or concerts. This is a great way to enjoy the festive season without spending money.

Feeling informed?

Remember, it all comes down to planning ahead. This way, you can create a realistic budget and shop smart so that you don’t overspend. Of course, you’ll need to put in a bit of effort, and you’ll be able to enjoy the festive season without all that dreaded financial stress.

If you’re still worried about your financial state, don’t forget that AA Inform is home to a range of financial tools, including access to a Free Credit Report (with your credit score) so that you can stay informed and empowered with insights into your financial health. Another tool to take advantage of is the Monthly Personal Budget Calculator to help you plan your money saving strategy.

Have a joyful, festive season!

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