If you don’t know it’s almost Christmas, you probably haven’t been to a grocery store recently. They’ve bust out the decorations and it won’t be long before Boney M is blaring over the speakers.
All the early Christmas cheer might have alerted you to the fact that you haven’t saved enough to cover all the expenses that Christmas brings. It’s never too late to start, though, and these 10 tips will help you to save enough money to do what you have to do this Christmas.
1. Stay at home
It’s the month before Christmas and things are starting to slow down a bit. Why don’t you take it easy this month, too? Try spending the minimum amount of money on outings this month and do things at home.
Instead of going to a restaurant, entertain friends and family in the comfort of your own home. We’re thinking homemade pizzas instead of ordering.
Have movie nights at home: make a big Christmas bed (see what we did there?), pop some popcorn and settle down for your favourite blockbuster.
If you’re into games, have a board game night at home and invite all your friends, but please note, we don’t take responsibility for any arguments that might arise!
This is the perfect way to save some money and to have a good time with friends before everyone heads home for the holidays.
2. Buy things that are on sale
It’s the end of the year and there are bound to be a few sales before prices go up again just before the Christmas rush. Save money where you can and don’t splurge on expensive items now. Bargain shopping is never as useful as it is when you really do need to cut your costs.
Also, keep an eye out for gifts that you might find in the sale section. You might just find exactly what your friend, a family member or your significant other is looking for in a bargain bin.
3. Start shopping early
They don’t call it the silly season for nothing. There are few things more stressful than navigating aisles of crazed last-minute shoppers in those few days preceding Christmas. You don’t have to be that person (again).
Make a list of the gifts you are planning to give now, and start keeping your eyes peeled before other shoppers block your view.
4. Buy for Christmas Day now
There are quite a few things you can buy for the Christmas Dinner table already. Experts say you should actually already have bought the meat that will be served on Christmas Day. There’s more than a month to go, though, so it’s still better to buy your meat and stick it in the deep freeze now, than doing it two days before it’s supposed to be eaten.
If you’re baking, buy all your ingredients now. Try to keep the food you buy a few days before Christmas to the absolute minimum: prices inevitably rise then.
5. If you can make it yourself, make it yourself
You can always save by making things instead of buying some generic wrapping paper or gift cards from a store. Your Christmas table will be authentic and unique in every way when it’s decorated with things that you have made yourself.
Unfortunately, this is not supposed to be a rushed affair, it’ll only stress you out unnecessarily and have you rushing to that crazy grocery store in a anxiety-induced panic where you’ll meet other panicky customers that will annoy you. Plan your decorations and wrapping paper now and start making them on those lazy weekends spent at home.
Counting Coins will show you how to make everything from wrapping paper to Christmas cards to gifts in the next few weeks, so remember to check in!
6. Use those loyalty points
We’ve spoken about the benefits of joining a loyalty programme on Counting Coins before. Now it’s time to use all those hard-earned points for something useful.
Cut down on your spending by using the points you have accumulated over the year to buy the expensive items that you can buy well in advance, like the meat for the table.
7. Don’t buy a Christmas tree
A Christmas tree is a great tradition, but also an expensive one. It’s not just the tree – the decorations will cost you more than you think.
In the coming weeks, Counting Coins will share a few creative ideas that you can use instead of an expensive, environmentally unfriendly and unnecessary store-bought tree.
8. It’s the digital age, baby
If you still send out Christmas cards by snail mail, where have you been living the last few years? In the digital age you can send out personalised e-cards with just a click, and you’ll save on the stamps.
Don’t forget to check out websites like Groupon and Takealot for pre-Christmas specials that might be advertised. If you buy a gift or other Christmas necessities now, at a discounted price, you’ll save on it before the rush.
9. Save a little money every week from now
So, it’s November, but it’s never too late to start setting aside a little every week to make a nice lump sum when the time comes.
Just R50 every week from now will amount to R400 by Christmas Day, which is enough to cover a 3kg leg of lamb and loads of veggies. Dust off your piggy bank and start saving today.
10. Give to charity
This might not specifically save you some money this Christmas, but pledging to support a charity monthly will certainly take the pressure off organisations in need this Christmas and every other month of the year.
Not sure who to support? Decide which organisation you identify with most and help them help others this Christmas. Here are a few suggestions: