The festive season is here! While we planned and ensured that we have the perfect gift for our loved ones; we are sometimes left with those unwanted last minute shopping trips to the mall.
“Budgeting for the festive season and any other special life event should be a key strategy from the beginning of the year, not just NOW. Retail therapy is sometimes great, but can be stressful as well. However, if managed correctly and within a budget – it can be a fun-filled activity,” says Ester Ochse, FNB Financial Advisory, Product Specialist.
Budgeting before the festive season rush can help you manage your money better. The budgeting process empowers you to be able to make key money decisions, without actually worrying about that growing hole in your pocket.
Ochse advises the following when doing last minute shopping:
- Online shopping: Many retailers have shifted their focus to digital platforms to cater for people who are always on the go. If you don’t have the time to rush in store to buy that perfect gift, look at the various online retail websites for great ideas. Besides fashion, you can purchase home décor, furniture and other accessories which can be delivered to your door. In addition, you can pick up great discounts that can help you save immensely.
- Product comparisons via Apps: We are used to trying on shoes and checking trouser or dress quality by hand; and are quite sceptical of going the online route for many reasons. Today, there are countless apps at your disposal that provide reviews on products which help in deciding where to make your final purchase.
- Specials: Through the holidays and leading up to the festive season, retailers will have a number of specials. Wait for that bargain and don’t rush to make the purchase. The extra buck you save will help you elsewhere.
- Coupons and discounts: Take advantage of your coupon specials via newspapers and sometimes magazines. These can help you a great deal in saving for a gift or even for yourself.
- Vouchers: Many consumers start buying vouchers from beginning of year so that they don’t overspend on food or other items. When using your voucher, know exactly what you going to purchase and stick to the budget.
- Use your phone to monitor your budget: Most people have smartphones which come with nifty apps, calculators and other applications. Use these features to keep track of your spending.
- Shop at holiday markets: There are many pop-up holiday markets at this time of the year. Support communities, charities by shopping at these markets. You may just find a gift that is way under budget and not what you expected.
- Be creative: Make your own wrapping paper, cards or even table décor. Look at second hand shops and craft blogs to get simple and innovative ideas to make your festive season fabulous.
- Food: Compare in-store prices or alternatively, buy your fruits and veggies at local food markets. The latter usually has very fresh produce at reasonable prices.
- Shopping with a partner: This can deter you from over spending and indulging in things that you don’t actually need. A shopping partner can help you limit your spending.
“We all suffer from a bit of impulsive buying which leads to people overspending, ultimately resulting in being financially overburdened in the New Year. Stick to your budget, your checklist and know what you want when doing your festive season shopping. Extra savings that you receive can go into your 2018 savings plan which can be used next year,” concludes Ochse.