How to make the most of your holiday budget

View the stunning Magaliesberg landscape from a hot-air balloon. Picture: INSTAGRAM

View the stunning Magaliesberg landscape from a hot-air balloon. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Published Aug 1, 2023


As the cold and wet weather persists, South Africans find themselves yearning for the warmth of summer and the promise of sunny days.

With dreams of vibrant beaches and thrilling outdoor adventures, the idea of planning a holiday becomes an enticing escape from the chilly reality.

Shaun Lamont, the managing director of First Group Hotels and Resorts, shares tips on how to implement intelligent budgeting strategies through minor adjustments.

Pick a nearby destination

Magaliesberg, less than an hour’s drive from Johannesburg. Picture: Instagram

Start by choosing a destination close to home to fit your budget. For example, if you live in Gauteng, consider Magaliesberg, less than an hour’s drive from Johannesburg, offering stunning mountains and breathtaking views.

Magaliesberg is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking and nature trails are abundant. Canopy Tour provides an exhilarating zip-lining experience through the treetops.Take to the skies and witness the stunning landscape from a hot-air balloon.

If you’re keen on nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries, consider the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve or Hartbeespoort Dam Snake and Animal Park for an up-close encounter with wildlife.

Hunt for the best deals

Don't hesitate to seek out cost-effective holiday ideas from friends, colleagues and family. Additionally, browse the internet for great deals and consider booking directly through a hotel’s website, which often offers better prices than online travel agents.

Keep an eye out for early-bird specials from reputable hotel groups.

Create a budget

Evaluate your financial situation and set a clear budget. Picture: Freepik

Evaluate your financial situation and set a clear budget for your trip, including travel, accommodation, activities and other expenses.

Determine a realistic monthly savings target for the upcoming months. Remember, success lies not in earning more but in spending less.

Review your spending habits carefully. Identify non-essential expenses that can be reduced, such as downgrading your bank account or cancelling a subscription you no longer use.

Bringing lunch to work instead of buying it can save you anywhere from R1 000 to R3 500. Opt for monthly grocery shopping, take advantage of specials and minimise unnecessary luxuries.

Sell unused items

Turn clutter into cash by selling items you no longer need. Host a garage sale or use online platforms to generate extra money for your December holiday.

There are various platforms to list your items for sale. Some popular options include Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and Yaga. Each platform has its own user base and features, so choose the one that best suits your needs

Automate savings

Once you’ve determined your potential savings, set up an automatic monthly transfer to a dedicated holiday savings account. This way, a portion of your income will be securely set aside before any temptation to spend arises.

Travel with your loved ones

Consider embarking on your holiday adventure with friends or family in order to share the costs. Group travel can lead to significant savings on accommodation, transport and food, and add a lot of fun to the experience.

“Refine your budget and savings plan as you progress, and with consistency and discipline, you’ll be sipping cocktails poolside, making lasting, magical memories with loved ones, and basking in the joy of your well-deserved December getaway,” Lamont says.