The December holiday season is a long-awaited and exciting time for most people. But it can also be a financially taxing time whether you’re going away, hosting family or friends at home or buying presents. Here are some key tips to reduce the financial stress that go with the “silly season”.
Saving tips if you’re celebrating Christmas
DIY decorations. Ditch the habit of buying costly decorations and get creative instead. Get some inspiration here. As well as saving you money, this gets everyone involved in the spirit of Christmas and makes the décor fun and personal.
Turn off your tree lights. Only turn your Christmas tree lights (if you have one) for a few hours each evening. Having them on continuously could be a fire hazard, so be sure to turn them off every night.
Secret Santa. Organise a Secret Santa game, where everyone is assigned one family member to buy a gift for – without them knowing who it’s from. This is a great way to save money and is a lot of fun too.
Saving tips if you’re staying at home
Turn off the lights when you aren’t using them. Besides saving you money, it’s also much better for the environment to conserve energy – especially in South Africa, where load shedding is a regular occurrence!
Be geyser and air conditioner savvy. As these are huge electricity wasters, turn them off when they aren’t needed.
Dine in more. Although we want to treat ourselves as it’s the holidays, eating out frequently can become a costly luxury. Rather opt for free activities such as cultural exploring days, beach days or outdoor picnics.
Saving tips if you’re going away
Don’t overload your vehicle. While this is easier said than done, be mindful of what you pack as a heavy vehicle will lead to higher fuel costs. Packing lightly will also make your trip more pleasant, as you’ll have more space to sit comfortably and safely.
Pack padkos so you don’t end up making unnecessary food stops on the way. Another perk of padkos is that you won’t run the risk of buying unhealthy fast food or snacks.
Consider accommodation with friends and family who live in holiday-friendly places. If you would prefer your own space, consider looking on Airbnb instead of hotels, as you will have a vast variety of affordable options to choose from. You could also plan a joint-trip where you hire a holiday home with another family and share the costs.
If you’re able to, plan your trip during off-peak times. Not only will your travelling costs be lower, but most public areas and tourist sites will be less crowded; making your experience more enjoyable.
The holiday season will always tug at your purse strings, but by following some of these tips, you’ll be able to cut back and make your money go further. All that will be left to do is to relax and cherish the well-deserved break with total financial peace of mind.