With the holiday purchasing rush in full swing, an expert gives tips for having a merry holiday season on a tight budget.
Shafeeka Anthony, the marketing manager at JustMoney.co.za, says a joyous yet cheap holiday season is within reach with careful planning, plenty of imagination and the involvement of family and friends.
“The most meaningful aspects of the holiday season usually revolve around time spent with loved ones and the care that goes into creating celebrations, rather than the financial value of the gifts and decorations.”
Anthony further suggests that one must avoid taking on bad debt.
“Buying expensive items such as designer clothing and gadgets on credit may bring happiness in the short term. In the new year, however, you could find yourself with high-interest payments that linger long after the decorations have been taken down,” she says.
Directions for creating a budget-friendly, unforgettable holiday include:
Set a realistic budget: Determine how much money you can spend throughout the season. Divide the money into categories like meals, transport, presents and decorations.
Use frequent flyer miles or rewards: If family get-togethers are far away, you can use loyalty points to reduce the cost of your holiday. Once you're at your destination, split the cost of transport by sharing lifts.
Produce your gifts: Sew, bake and garden to create personal presents such as clothing, biscuits, sweets and potted plants.
Make the decorations: Create your decorations using materials such as fabric, paper, foil and recycled items. Make this a fun, bonding experience by involving family members.
Suggest Secret Santa gifting: Request that each guest bring a present that will be given to a different guest at random. As a result, people need not purchase as many gifts as before.
Bring a dish: Arrange get-togethers for the holidays where visitors bring a dish to share. This offers a range of meal options and lessens the strain on the host.
Shop smart: Compare prices online when shopping for holiday essentials. Look for bargains at community markets and charity outlets, and you will also support a good cause.
Discover free or low-cost activities: Attend community events, such as ceremonies to switch on holiday lights, and free music concerts.
Focus on experiences: Plan activities that focus on spending time together, rather than expensive outings. Organise movie and game nights, hikes and picnics.