The festive season is a time to be merry, and enjoy the break after a long year of deadlines. It is a time to also rest and rejuvenate in preparation for the year to follow. Every year we look forward to the various festivities, and to some down time with loved ones. However, it does come at a financial cost. 2020 has been a long and difficult year on all fronts. The Corona Virus Pandemic has taken from us emotionally, mentally and even financially.
During the festive season we tend to spend more on Christmas gifts, impromptu lunch/dinner dates with friends, stationary and school supplies for the next year, family getaways, and let’s not forget those once in a lifetime irresistible festive specials. However, this year we have been forced to tighten our belts as a result of the economic impact the pandemic has had on the country. This does not mean that the 2020 festive season is a lost cause, however, it does mean that it would bode well to start looking for small ways to save money, or to make your “Rand” stretch in preparation for the “silly” season.
Small but effective ways to save money are:
Money saving tips for the home:
- The biggest electricity culprit: Geysers add up to 40 percent of the monthly electricity bill. The easiest way to keep these costs down is to switch off your geyser when you leave the house or when it’s not in use
- Unplug appliances: Even when they’re turned off, appliances and electronics on standby draw electricity that can amount to between 10% and 20% of your electricity bill.
- Plan your meals: By planning meals to be cooked for the week, where possible, you negate the need for excessive food purchases each week and have an opportunity to only buy what you need. You’ll also avoid grabbing a takeaway on nights when you’re unsure what to cook. And if you’re shopping for food items, make a grocery list and stick to it!
- Ditch the pricey brands of food: Consider buying generic/affordable alternative items rather than branded ones.
Money saving tips for better health:
- Gym subscriptions: Consider saving money on the gym and working out at home instead.
- Ditch the takeaways: Home cooked meals are often healthier and more cost effective than take-aways, even though they do require a bit more effort to put together.
- Medical expenses: Always ask your doctor/pharmacist if you can get a generic equivalent of drugs – they’re invariably a great deal cheaper. Discuss medical charges before a consultation and if you’re paying cash, ask for a discount. If you’re on medical aid, find a doctor who charges the medical scheme rate.
Money saving tips at work:
- Make your lunches at home: If you think ahead and plan your lunches, you won’t need to buy them at that expensive coffee shop at work.
- Think about carpool: Can you combine your journey with someone else’s to save on cost? Ask around or advertise on your internal information board to see if there’s anyone interested in splitting the cost of travel. Take precaution by ensuring that you know or are familiar with the individual, and the department he/she works in.
Money saving tips for your social and family life:
- Holiday close to home: There’s plenty of places to enjoy closer to home, so don’t always feel you need to travel to another country to enjoy a holiday. This is especially important as the world is still faced with the effects of the Corona Virus.
- Avoid impulsive shopping: Do you really need that extra pair of shoes, jeans or accessories? Think carefully before you make each impulsive purchase. Remember, not all sales are sales.
- Staying in is the new going out: Consider inviting friends over rather than meeting up in town. You’ll still have fun but you won’t all be spending so much money. Having a ‘bring and braai’ with your family is still much more fun, healthier and cheaper than say feeding the whole family at a fancy restaurant.
- Consider buying reasonable gifts: As you embark on your festive shopping consider buying cost effective items that your family and friends need. Avoid breaking the bank on expensive fancy gifts which may be of no use in the long run.
- Most importantly never spend more than you can afford.
The tips provided may not seem significant in the moment or when taken in isolation, especially when you are caught up in the festive spirit, however, they do have a significant impact in the long run. We are not completely out of the woods with regards to the virus and its effects, however, we can ensure that we treasure the little moments we have with loved ones by making small, significant and impactful changes.
This article contains information from WONGA a short term loan company.
“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”- John Wooden.