We all dream of the festive season being a magical time – although sometimes that magic seems to run out early. But there are ways to be smart. File Photo: IOL

We all dream of the festive season being a magical time – although sometimes that magic seems to run out early as our wallets empty way too fast. But there are ways to be smart about your festive spend so it stretches to make the magic last, says Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters Southern Africa.

Sell and save

While you are busy with polishing up your home to sparkle for visitors and guests over the festive season, take stock of what you have – and, more importantly, what you do not really need. Quality electronics, household goods and personal items such as jewellery can all boost your festive spending budget if you sell them because they are surplus to your needs, says Mukheibir.

As the worldwide Cash Converters group constitutes the largest second-hand dealer in the world, he is confident in asserting that shops like theirs offer a safe, secure and convenient way to turn items that no longer fit your needs or lifestyle into useful cash. “We call it getting paid to recycle!” he says.

Bag a bargain

The need to move from a throwaway to a recycling culture has hit the headlines several times this year as municipal landfills run out of space. Add to that the trends for retro and vintage and the environmentally and socially preferable way to shop is second-hand – including for festive gifts. At Cash Converters, the merchandise is carefully sourced for quality and most of it also comes with a six-month guarantee.

“Our shops receive an extraordinarily wide range of second-hand goods from barely used cellphones and other gadgets and top brands to china and fascinating jewellery,” says Mukheibir. “Second-hand shops have always fascinated me – they are like an Aladdin’s cave where you can enjoy exploring and find unusual bargains that make your gift stand out as the one that will be remembered.”

Stretch your budget

December is one of those times when there always seems to be more month than your money . . . So what do you do if you discover a far-flung relative or friend is suddenly going to appear for the festivities and you need to add another gift to your shopping list or host a meal?

If our first two suggestions do not solve the problem for you, then you might want to consider a short-term loan. Cash Converters, for example, offers three types of short-term loans with the highest-value offering up to R20 000 and the longest-term up to three months.

“Most of these loans are made for a few hundred or a couple of thousand rand,” says Mukheibir. “The fact that they are short term and often limited in value means customers should not find they are weighed down by difficult-to-manage long-term debt.”

So if you feel Christmas is rocketing towards you far too fast, take a deep breath, relax and make the most of one of these great strategies to stretch your festive spend – and put the magic back into this season of joy.

PERSONAL FINANCE