Silly season, but not silly spending

Johannesburg – It’s been a rollercoaster year and, suddenly, the silly season is upon us. How do you meet the expenses of the traditional year-end holidays, with a super- tight budget.

Sarah Nicholson, commercial manager of personal finance website Just- Money, says: “Despite the many challenges of the pandemic, from salary cuts to retrenchments, most of us want to get into the festive spirit and spoil those we love.

“Of course, this isn’t easy under present conditions, and you certainly don’t want to dig yourself into debt. But with good advice and careful planning, you can save costs, make the holidays special, and bank some great memories.”

To make festive season financial planning easier, JustMoney has created a video with 31 tips – one for each day of December. After all, a tip a day keeps financial stress at bay.

Nicholson also offers six tips on how to save smartly over the festive season:

Cash in on your rewards programme:

Now is the time to cash in on the many times you swiped your cards. Check your balances, understand the conditions and use the rewards to shop for gifts and groceries, and generally stretch your budget.

Safe online shopping:

The lockdown has encouraged even late adopters to find out more about buying groceries and other goods in the safety of their home, rather than traipsing through shopping malls. Go online to compare costs on everything from festive season gifts to insurance and medical aid. Avoid potentially costly mistakes by shopping only via well-known websites and secure platforms. Don’t disclose your One Time PIN to anyone.

Affordable festive meals:

The holidays are traditionally the time for indulgent feasts and every family has their foodie favourites.

Present dilemma:

Draw up your gift list, set a budget, compare costs, and only buy what you can afford. You could also skip this social obligation altogether. Read why it’s time to ditch Christmas presents and rather give a real gift by not forcing your friends and family to buy you one.

Vehicle check:

If you’re planning a short break, the last thing you need is to have a vehicle accident or house break-in, and then experience hassles with an insurance claim. Before setting out, check that you are adequately insured and your car is roadworthy.

New Year resolutions:

Many people are understandably keen to put 2020 behind them and make a fresh start. How do you turn your good intentions into practical changes?

Read 15 New Year Resolutions that will save you money.

Nicholson says: “Not spending too much and staying at home may not sound as much fun as you feel you deserve fun after a tough year, but you will avoid having to deal with a holiday hangover come 2021. The pandemic has reminded us of what’s really important – family, friends, health. With careful planning and budgeting, you can stretch your rand and still have a good holiday season with those who are special to you.”

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