For many South Africans the December holidays are just around the corner. Irrespective of where you are going and what you will be doing, it is only natural to want to indulge more than usual. However, whatever you do don’t overspend. Rather try and stretch your holiday budget as much as possible by planning ahead with these tips.
Tip #1: Utilise all the free stuff.
There is a good reason why many songs have the lyrics “the best things in life are free” in them. It is because it is true. And this is especially true while on holiday. Wherever you are going this holiday, make a list of free activities the whole family can enjoy together i.e. trips to the beach, walks in the park, playing board games, hiking, beach walks etc. It is a great way to stretch your budget and encourage quality family time in the process. Remember to use all your other freebies too, like rewards and coupons etc.
Tip #2: Pack snacks & drinks where possible…
Snacking is most definitely a holiday favourite for most people. It is the time of the year to stop counting calories and indulge whenever, whatever. But those daily trips to the café or vendor to calm your family’s cravings for chips, cold drinks, ice creams etc. add up very quickly – so save where you can. Pack the basics like chips, cookies, fruits, biltong and other nibbles as well as waters, cold drinks etc. Some days you can even pack delicious sarmies or hot dogs for lunch .
It might not be feasible to pack your own treats every day or for every occasion but when you can, do it – you’ll stretch your budget substantially.
Tip #3: Cook at home often.
Another holiday favourite is eating out. However, one simple restaurant meal for the family can make a huge dent in your daily holiday budget. Try and limit dining out to once or twice a week and cook/braai at home as often as possible. Eating home cooked meals or having a braai need not be boring at all. You can still eat exotic things like seafood but by preparing it yourself you will stretch your budget.
Tip #4: Spend less on gifts.
Naturally, one of the highlights of the December holidays is Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when kids and adults alike partake in the joy of unwrapping presents. Gifts can be very expensive and if at all possible try and stretch your holiday budget by spending less on gifts. Shop for sales or try and shop around to find a specific item for cheaper. If you normally buy several gifts for the kids, limit yourself to one expensive gift and a few inexpensive ones.
Tip #5: Make your own décor.
If turning your living room into a festive haven is tradition in your house, try and stretch you budget by recycling old décor and making new ones. Making the decorations could also keep the kids entertained for an evening or that rainy day. You can use old magazines or left over wrapping paper, even newspaper can be used creatively and painted afterwards. Search the internet and Pinterest for ideas.
Tip #6: Buy food & drink in bulk.
Stretch your budget by making a trip to a bulk retailer to take advantage of bulk shopping on things like cold drinks, chips, sweets, alcoholic beverages, meat and seafood. Not only will you save money doing it this way but you will also need to make fewer trips to the store while on holiday.
After a year of working hard, you and your family deserve a memorable break. Keep to your budget and stretch it where possible. If your finances and debt are currently too much of a mess it is making it impossible for you to budget, contact Debt Rescue. We are here for you!