It’s that time of the year when we spend, spend and do some more spending. It’s the festive season; we look forward to the best clothes and food. It’s a time to celebrate Christmas, the new year, with the ones you love the most. But Januworry is also around the corner, a season for food, school and even more spending. So in this article, we are giving a few tips on how you can spend ChristmasChristmas on a limited budget.

Don’t overbuy (i.e. stokvels are a good idea but be careful)

The rule of thumb for Christmas seems to buy as much as possible like there’s no tomorrow. It’s important to have a list of the things you need for the day than restocking what you don’t need. Most people also get to have December food stokvels which means they don’t have to buy a lot of food in December since they spent the whole year saving. This works well when you do it with trustworthy people, but some have been scammed for thousands of rands or would not get the agreed-upon amount of food they expected. Then all your yearly savings for food goes down the drain, and you will have to rebuy more. 

Don’t invite people over… if you can’t afford to 

This isn’t a joke; Christmas is, yes, for being festive with everyone by inviting family and friends over, but too many times people ask people, but they know that they are offering them their last. When the festive days pass, you are stressed about what to eat and where you will get the money. If you didn’t save for the festive season, that is okay. Not having a big December is fine. Not many people show it, but we all have December on a limited budget; times are tough, and Januworry may be even more challenging; staying true to what you can afford is okay.

Going to the beach (or other outdoor place) on a budget

Places like Port Elizabeth, East London and Cape Town enjoy most of their festivities at the beach. Other places have parks or spaces to relax in as well. Whether it is for the first day of turning on the Christmas lights or a festival on the 25th of December or the 1st of January, the beaches and parks are usually packed with activities. People who live away from the beach have to travel to get there. The charge is generally higher because of the demand, which is why some people get a group together and hit the number of 15 peopl so as to hire a Quantum, and the taxi driver usually charges them for a trip (which can be R50 per person in the car). They drop you off and pick you up after you are done which saves having the stress of travelling with a large family on public transport with lots of baggage.

Sharing is caring

December is the season of giving; many people cook together and share different dishes during this time. This can also alleviate the stress of providing all the food if everyone is inputting something. Especially around Christmas day, you can choose to cook one dish, and other people can come up with different contributions as well; then, as a host, the stress of all the cooking is not only left in your hands. 

Borrowing money would not be a benefit.

December is also a time for young people to show off their best outfits, and their tastes are usually costly. Parents try to go out of their way to make their children fit best and not look like the financial problems they have at home. Instead of borrowing money, laybying the clothes before the time is usually a good idea. If it’s too late to do that then plan buying one outfit that can be flexible with different outfits. You could get one expensive item to go with cheaper pieces of clothing. This can give you different types of outfits from the little you have –  for example, you could have a statement top with more affordable jeans. The most critical days for kids are Christmas, New Year and the 16th of December in some parts of South Africa. The idea is for them to have a different outfit for just those three days, and anything after and before that isn’t essential. 

Remember what is important.

The spirit of December is spending time with the people you love; food and clothes are just the cherries on top. Those things shouldn’t make or break how amazing your December should be. Also, remembering that December is only one month and reality will soon hit after those big days when you still have to be financially secure may help you reconsider what you choose to spend your money on and why. 

Tell us: How does your family spend their December on a limited budget?