The end of our 750 days of lockdown signals much relief and a bumper spending month. Retailers are no doubt relishing the upcoming Easter break, and the massive surge in spending that will no doubt ensue. Australians are forecast to spend $8.6 billion over Easter and in the UK, Brits will reportedly spend £1.7 billion.
Last year in South Africa, Standard Bank reported that card transaction volumes over the Easter holidays was up three-fold from 2020 and the value of the transactions, was up four times year-on-year.
“It’s been a rough two years for many household budgets. With many income streams now returning to pre-Covid levels, the need for normality and a frivolous spending spree is tempting,” says Susan Steward, spokesperson for Budget Insurance. “While letting your budget-guard down is long over-due, it’s crucial to keep a cool head and remember that the need-to-have things should be paid before spending on the want-to-haves, and that you still focus strongly on saving for a rainy day.”
Here are some budget-friendly ways to have a great Easter without breaking the bank:
Budgeting: Draw up a quick and accurate budget of your income and expenses. Make a list of things that you need to pay and set aside money for that first. Be sure to allocate some funds for savings and unexpected expenses. Set aside a budget for Easter – ideally in a separate account – and stick to it. Don’t feel guilty about splitting the bill with others. Avoid using your credit card if you can, as this incurs additional interest and adds to financial pressure.
Shopping: Shop around and compare offers to make sure that you get the best deal. Buy in bulk, where possible, to save. Be willing to go with no-name options over more expensive brands. Use your loyalty cards to get maximum discount. Beware of fly-by-night businesses and dodgy deals, as criminals are always out to make a quick buck.
Entertaining: Have a bring-and-braai or ask guest to each make and bring their speciality dish and pick a theme to add to the fun – it’s not only tasty, but budget-friendly too. Host inexpensive, but fun activities for the kids such as Easter egg hunts, board games, or outdoor picnics at a neutral venue such as a nearby park or the beach.
Travelling: Plan your leave days in such a way that you take minimum leave for maximum days away. Keep an eye out for last-minute deals which are often available at a fraction of the normal price. Look around for bargains just a stone’s throw away from touristy hotspots.
Road trip: If you plan a road trip, make sure that your car is road trip ready before you leave to avoid costly repairs or even an accident. Save on fuel by having your car serviced. Remember that making some minor adjustments to your driving style, can boost your car’s fuel efficiency by as much as 40%. This includes checking wheel alignment and air pressure, switching off the air con, removing unnecessary items from the car, taking it nice and slowly, driving smoothly and not stop-starting, driving at a lower speed but in a higher gear, using the economy tech on your car to get max mileage and waiting out the rush.
Staycation: If your budget won’t stretch to a trip, there are more affordable ways to get that holiday feeling and have a great time. A good massage (look out for Easter specials), a trip to a theme park or a local mall’s Easter show, a day out at a beautiful and quiet location, a drive through one of our many stunning nature reserves or time out with wildlife are all great ways to reenergise and escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
“Easter can be a fun time for the whole family, regardless of your budget. A couple of rands saved here and a couple there eventually add up to a substantial amount and still guarantees a good time while your loved ones, as well as your bank balance, is smiling,” Steward concludes.