UP EXPERT OPINION: Smart saving, preparing for the festive season now

Posted on July 25, 2023

The first half of the year has quickly flown by and many are awaiting the December festivities with great anticipation.

The end-of-year festivities bring joy and celebration, but can also strain our finances, often leading to a tough January. As we celebrate Savings Month in July, it is an opportune time to strategise and prepare for our financial well-being during the festive season. By adopting smart saving strategies now, we can mitigate the financial burden and start the new year on a more stable footing.

The first step towards effective saving is setting a realistic budget. Take some time to evaluate your income, expenses, and financial goals. Consider your regular monthly expenses and allocate funds for essential items such as food, water and electricity, and rent or mortgage payments. Then, determine an amount you can comfortably save each month towards spending for the festive season. This proactive approach allows you to avoid excessive debt and enjoy the celebrations without financial stress.

To avoid the temptation of dipping into your savings, you can open a dedicated savings account specifically for the festive season. Many financial institutions offer specialised accounts with attractive interest rates and incentives. Automate monthly transfers to this account, ensuring a consistent and disciplined approach to saving. Separating these funds from your regular accounts reduces the risk of accidental spending and creates a clear distinction for your festive season budget.

Adopting a frugal lifestyle can significantly contribute to your savings goals. Review your monthly expenses and identify areas where you can cut back. This might involve reducing discretionary spending on non-essential items such as eating out, entertainment, or luxury purchases. Consider exploring affordable alternatives and finding joy in simpler experiences. By embracing frugality, you’ll be amazed at how much you can save without compromising on the joy and spirit of the festive season.

Gift-giving and social gatherings are central to the festive season. However, they can quickly become a major strain on your finances if not carefully managed. Start planning early by making a list of intended recipients and allocating a realistic budget for gifts. Consider alternative options like homemade gifts or organising group activities that encourage shared experiences. Through a proactive and thoughtful approach, you can spread the joy of the season without breaking the bank.

Throughout the year, retailers offer various sales and discounts, particularly during the months leading up to the festive season. Stay informed about promotions and compare prices to make informed purchasing decisions. If at all possible, see what specials you can now already take advantage of. Otherwise, do not forget about sales events like Black Friday or Cyber Monday to buy essential items at reduced prices. By being a savvy shopper, you can make significant savings without compromising on quality.

We are living in tough economic times with great uncertainty. It is crucial that we normalise smart spending and saving for the festive season. Here are a few suggestions on how to also spend less over the festive season.

  • Instead of bearing the full cost of hosting a festive meal, consider organising a potluck gathering where all the guests contribute a dish or beverage, creating a diverse and delicious spread while distributing the expenses among everyone.
  • Embrace your creativity and make your own festive decorations. There are many ideas on Pinterest and other platforms. Handmade decorations add a personal touch to your home and can be a cost-effective alternative to store-bought ornaments and decorations.
  • For fun, look for local community events, holiday markets, or festivals that offer free or low-cost activities.
  • Instead of focusing on expensive gifts, prioritise thoughtful and personalised presents such as handmade gifts, photo albums, scrapbooks, or writing heartfelt letters to express your love and appreciation. These gifts often hold more sentimental value and can be more meaningful than expensive store-bought items.
  • Embrace the essence of the festive season by participating in free or low-cost traditions. Take a stroll or drive through your neighbourhood to admire the festive lights and decorations, watch classic holiday movies with loved ones, or organise a games night filled with laughter and joy. These traditions create cherished memories without requiring a significant financial investment.
  • Instead of material gifts, consider offering your time and service to others. Volunteer at local charities, visit nursing homes or hospitals or participate in community service initiatives. Acts of kindness and giving back not only enrich the lives of others but also fill your own heart with a sense of fulfillment and gratitude.

Remember, the true spirit of the festive season lies in the joy of spending time with loved ones, creating meaningful connections, and expressing gratitude. By focusing on experiences, personal connections, and creative alternatives, you can have a wonderful and memorable holiday season without overspending.

Elda Du Toit is an Associate Professor in the Department of Financial Management at the University of Pretoria

- Author Elda Du Toit

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences