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December is time for fun, relaxation, and spending time with loved ones. It is also associated with entertainment, activities, and gifts.  Since December is the main school holiday in South Africa people often travel to holiday destinations.  Others stay at home and do day trips but keep their children entertained for an extended period.

No matter what, you are going to spend money during the festive season.  It is important to try and stay within your budget. It is especially important this year to ensure you can recover from the financial strain caused by the lockdown period. Everything is more expensive during December and January is a long and tough month with lots of expenses. Enjoy the holiday but spend wisely.

Here are a few saving tips for the holiday season:
  • You don’t need to buy expensive gifts. Most adults and children value time and attention more than expensive gifts. Give your loved ones the valuable gift of your time and attention this December. Create memories because memories last a lifetime.
  • Ask your family and friends to compile a wish list. Spend money on gifts that will be appreciated than wasting money on gifts the receiver won’t use or derive value from.
  • Shopping during the holiday season is unavoidable but plan your shopping sprees in advance. Don’t go to the shops unnecessarily, compile a shopping list and stick to it, look out for discounted prices, and make use of loyalty programmes at shops.
  • Don’t spend a fortune on decorations that will rapidly be forgotten. Use fruit bouquets that can double-up as dessert and flowers from your garden to create something cost effective, unique, and special.
  • Entertaining will feature on your to-do list this summer, but don’t carry all the costs. Entertaining at home is a lot cheaper than going to restaurants or entertainment venues. Ask friends and family to all contribute their favourite dish towards your feast meal.
  • If your budget is getting really tight during the holiday, be creative when planning activities. You can still have lots of fun without splashing out on activities. Make the most of the gorgeous summer weather and enjoy a picnic outside with friends and family. Movie night at home with popcorn and milkshakes is a great idea and so is a cook-off. Or camp in your garden, braai marshmallows and try to count the stars.
  • Mountain-biking is a fun and affordable activity to keep the kids entertained. Go for walks with the family and dogs. There are beautiful parks, botanical gardens, and nature reserves that you can enjoy without having to spend a fortune.
  • Usually there are massive sales following the mad rush of inflated prices over the Christmas period. If you plan properly for the year ahead and stick to your budget, you can pick up great savings the week after Christmas. Be money wise – don’t buy things you don’t need.

This December may be a bit different due to the impact of the pandemic on many people’s budgets. It certainly was a year filled with financial stress, uncertainty, health concerns and disappointments for many people. You deserve to spoil yourself and your family this December and celebrate that you are still alive and well but make money wise decisions. Have a blessed holiday season!

Are you feeling up to doing an effective budgeting online course during the holiday? Here is a link:

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