Final plans and preparations for the festive season can be quite a touchy subject, especially when your financial situation has taken a knock during the year…

You may have realised you’re going to need to spend extra money during your visit to family members, and tried to convince your dear ones that it would be better to stay home and save a few costs.

Perhaps you hit a nerve in the process?

Other things can also add quite a bit of stress to planning for the season:

  • Should you buy gifts, and if you do – what is it going to cost you?
  • Do you have enough budget to attend various festive season events and everything that goes along with each gathering during the upcoming silly season?
  • Think in the line of presents and meal preparations, for example. Penny for your thoughts?

Affordable Christmas plans

It’s best not to overthink your current situation but to envision an affordable Christmas and a Frugal New Year instead.

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When you think thrifty beforehand, you can have the most frugal festive season that you could have imagined. Just remember to keep things simple and work with what you’ve got. It can help you to avoid adding any extra financial strain to your situation.

“The 2020 year has, unfortunately, not turned out as expected. There are more financial uncertainties, debt responsibilities, income cuts, and food/products price hikes, to mention but a few, due to the Coronavirus’ implications. It is therefore important for South African consumers to stick to the ‘heart’ of the festive season. Act and collaborate on thrifty quality experiences and avoid focusing on high-priced quantity (things),” highlights Carla Oberholzer, the debt adviser at DebtSafe.

Yes, this time of year is for making memories or spending quality time with those you love and, avoiding lots of presents and spending money that you don’t have, instead. So how exactly can you keep your ‘money cool’ and have an inexpensive festive season?

Here are a few considerations:

Set a budget for each ‘occasion’ and stick to it!

Use every opportunity you get to stick to upcoming budget amounts (for example, Christmas Day or your New Year’s get-together gathering).

Pin/write your budget amount down for each occasion and make it visible so that you and other household members can see it (use the fridge door/kitchen’s notice board, for example). This visual ‘method’ can ensure that you are all ‘in sync’ with the various budget limits.

It can also encourage you to keep track of your spending during any last-minute shopping trips, for example. It can also create the ideal opportunity to look for cheaper alternatives (when grocery shopping, for example) and let everyone (including YOU) stay within the allocated budget amounts of each event.

Inexpensive & personalised gifts

Christmas presents have become more than a bit overrated. So, why not keep the expression of love or idea minimal and personal?

There are various special yet frugal gift options to consider:

  • Stock an affordable pair of socks with a few chocolates and candy?
  • Compile a ‘family favourites’ handmade recipe book and add your personal touch to the gift. It can either be typed or written down by hand for those family or friends that like spending time in the kitchen.
  • Buy/make an everyday coffee mug extra special by including instructions and adding a few ingredients on how to make the best cuppa hot chocolate or add a ‘quick recipe’ to make a lip-smacking cake-in-a-mug treat.
  • The most affordable gift of all is probably one that includes some quality time and a memorable experience. Why not treat family members or friends sometime during the holiday period with a ‘voucher’ to get a back massage, a mani-pedi treatment, or add your take on a baking/cooking class? Ideas are endless and can be personal, fun, AND frugal.

Nom, nom, nom: Thoughtful meal tips

  • If festivities are taking place at your house, ask family and friends to contribute, or bring certain items along for the duration of their stay.
  • Continue to keep meals affordable by using the products and ingredients that you already have available and encourage your dear ones to do the same.
  • And one last thing, remember: sharing is caring. It makes the entire festivity thing kind of extra special when everyone contributes to tasty favourite dishes. Meals don’t have to ‘nom’ your money away, but you can allow this part of your overall budget to help you save a few bucks instead.

Don’t let this year’s festivities unnerve you and your finances. Take a deep breath, do what will work best for you and your family, and work with what you already have available.

Have yourself (and your loved ones) a merry, affordable Christmas and a happy, frugal New Year.

Merry “Affordable Christmas” & happy “Frugal New Year”! – How to keep your budget in check this season

Don’t let this year’s festivities unnerve you and your finances. Take a deep breath, do what will work best for you and your family, and work with what you already have available. #FrugalChristmas

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