Don’t get the budget blues this festive season! We’ve got top tips from the founder of the successful 1 Family 1 Stockpile Facebook group, Ncumisa Fandesi-Ndelu, to help you spend smart this December. Follow these and you’ll have enough money for all those January expenses and a little left over to spoil the family at the end of the year!
Tip #1: Be present when you shop
No, this doesn’t mean going to the shops rather than shopping online! It means being aware when you shop – wherever you are shopping.
“One of the biggest mistakes shoppers make is shopping aimlessly,” says Ncumisa. “This is when you make the most mistakes and fall into retail traps.” This includes buying the ‘special’ or discounted item without checking to see if it really is a special and discounted, and not actively looking at all the items available to find the bargains.
Here are some ways to be more present when you shop:
- Always be on the lookout for good deals on items you may need in the next few months.
- Check out the specials before you shop, and make sure they really are specials.
- Compare prices, on all the shelves and in all the spaces in the store – the first place you see an item displayed may not be the cheapest option.
- Be prepared to ask for special deals as advertised and make sure they are priced as advertised (take a photo of the advertisement on your phone).
- Make sure everything is included in any toys or games you buy, such as batteries.
- Check your till slip! And check it again to make sure you are correctly charged.
Tip #2: Don’t change your shopping habits over December
“Shopping during the festive season is still shopping,” says Ncumisa. “Do the same things you do during the year, and don’t leave your home without a list and budget!
“I do the same groceries, I prepare the same meals in December because in my head I’m already thinking about my daughter’s registration fee, January groceries at the commune, and more.”
Retailers want you to spend more and buy extra items in December, such as special food items, presents, outdoor toys and decorations. The displays may look great, and the items seem really useful. But if they are not in your budget just walk past – and leave the kids at home if you can!
Don’t surrender your reason to the festive season madness!
“Don’t surrender your reason to the festive season madness! There will be food and alcohol in January too. Be wary of friends and family who treat you like Santa Claus and stop making yourself Santa Claus to everyone!” says Ncumisa.
Tip #3: Have a little spare for a family treat
The festive season is a special time of year for children, and an end of year celebration is a must for most of us. Ncumisa says she tends to save a little extra for the end of the year so she can entertain her children. You can start saving now so you have a few extra rands to spend.
Remember there are cheap ways to have fun, you can share entertainment costs at the end of the year, and one special outing or meal will give your children something to look forward to.
Tip #4: Give your money names
Not a Zola, it might run away too quickly! Use your budget to allocate money to a specific expense, for example R2 000 for school fees in January. This R2 000 is now called school fees.
“The best advice I ever received was from my mom. She used to say give your money names because when it has a name you will use it for its purpose. When your money doesn’t have a name, you will use it for anything,” says Ncumisa.
Giving your money names, and even putting it into envelopes with the name on it, is a great way to help you really stick to your budget. On paper and on apps and spreadsheets, numbers can be manipulated. In an envelope with a name on it – that’s harder to change!
Stay calm, stay focused
2021 has been another tough year. Pandemics are stressful, and traumatic for those who have lost loved ones. Finances are stretched and prices have risen.
Enjoy the end of the year, but never forget January looms and you’ll need to pay important expenses including food, education costs and your insurance premiums. So spend smart, save where you can, and always be present when you shop. Your gift could be a healthy bank balance on January 1! And that’s a great way to start a new year.