How to Save Money this Holiday Season

It’s scary how quickly you can get sucked into the consumerism that surrounds the holiday season. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, there are sales, festive parties, end-of-year celebrations and a whole host of ways and reasons to spend your money. We’d argue that January will be a lot more pleasant (and you’ll be a lot less stressed) if you figure out a way to save instead of spending all your money this season. Here are a few tips on keeping the reins on your wallet.

Set some guidelines around gifts

Gifts can be a minefield of expense and unnecessary consumerism. So much so, that many people are choosing to either streamline the process or do away with it all together. Consider the following options for your festive gift exchange this year:

  • Secret Santa: All adult names are thrown into a hat and each adult picks one. You buy just one gift and one gift is bought for you. Usually, there’s a budget imposed to prevent unequal spending.
  • Kid gifts only: In some families, especially when there are a lot of people to potentially buy for, it can reduce complexity to do away with adult gifts completely.
  • Rules around kid gifts: Some families like to use the holidays to teach their kids both the joys of giving and receiving, and have a “one in, one out” rule, where for every gift received, the child must choose an existing possession to donate to another child in need.
  • The 4-gift rule*: This is another one for kids, and limits their Christmas gifts to the following: “something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read”.

If you plan to implement any of these guidelines, it’s important to get everyone to buy into it. That way there’s no hard feelings or a perceived lack of generosity and everyone can relax and enjoy the season together.

Experiences over gifts

Another way to reduce consumerism is to give experiences rather than gifts. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Give a couple who have recently had a baby a free night of babysitting and a voucher to a nice restaurant.
  • Plan a weekend away with the whole family — find reasons to get together in the future, outside of the holiday season!
  • Get a new mom a massage voucher and offer to look after her baby while she goes.

There are so many ways to gift people generously without adding to the physical clutter of too many things. Think of ways to gift your time or your expertise, and both parties will benefit.

Spend strategically to save money

This tip comes from Capetonian architect and dad of twins, Steve Parkes: Sign up to all the free loyalty programmes you can find — you’ll accumulate points that you can switch to cash or use to buy things at the end of the year. Microblogger AddSomeFlavour says, “This year we’re going try use Black Friday to buy gifts a little cheaper.” Take advantage of any sales strategically, but don’t buy things you typically wouldn’t have bought, just because they’re cheap. Plan in advance in terms of the categories of gifts you’re interested in and sign up for newsletters for the retailers that sell them.

Take advantage of discounts through Sanlam Reality

Through Sanlam Reality, Fedhealth’s lifestyle benefit, you can save even more. Sign up for a Money Saver Card to earn cash-back bonuses and get discount coupons to receive discounts throughout the year, not just at Christmas.

There are many ways to enjoy the holiday season without breaking the bank. Here’s hoping we all reach the end of January feeling happy and comfortable thanks to spending (and saving) well this season.


* Will the 4 Gift Rule work for your family this Christmas?:

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