How to navigate the silly season without breaking the bank

Image: Wannawit Vachirakhuankhan/123RF

It’s easy to get caught up in the flurry of the silly season and end up spending a lot more that you intended, or have the budget to accommodate. Here are some tips on how you can beat the December hangover in January by using your money wisely.

1. Buy in bulk

You can buy non-perishable items such as cleaning materials and toiletries in bulk. Pro tip: Team up with a friend and shop together, so you can split three-for-two specials

2. Take advantage of multi-product specials

If you live alone, a buy-three-for-two special on fresh milk is not a deal. It’s a waste because you’ll spend money on milk that will go bad.

Pro tip: Team up with friends and create a mini-stokvel to buy non-perishable goods in bulk.

3. Buy meat at the butchery

Buying meat in bulk then having it cut into pieces that suit you can help you save a lot of money, compared to buying pre-packaged meat.

Pro tip: You can team up with friends on this as well.

4. Go to the factory shops

If you want to save a little money on clothes, but still look great and get good quality, factory shops are a great way to get stylish items at a much lower price. Best of all, you can still catch further discounts during the festive season.

Pro tip: Call the stores to enquire about markdown sales ahead of time.

5. Shop online

Sites such as Superbalist and Takealot have regular flash sales and items can be discounted up to 80%.

Pro tip: Sign up for sale alerts so you never miss a deal.

6. Use coupons and vouchers

There are plenty of chain stores with reward programmes and specials for members. You can also take advantage of vouchers from reward programmes or participate in coupon schemes.

Pro tip: Buy on double-points-promotion days and always check for vouchers or points that you can convert into cash savings.

7Wait for post-Christmas specials

Stores have big discount drives following Christmas Day that run into the first week of January. This is a good time to stock up on essentials that are on special, because retailers are getting rid of stock.

Pro tip: Holiday treats aren’t the only things that go on sale. Overstock is also put on the sale rack — don’t miss out.

8. Shop for a car or house

For those of you looking at bigger-ticket items, the best time to buy a car or house is in December or the first quarter of the year, especially if you’re hoping to put a big chunk of your bonus towards a deposit.

Pro tip: Put your negotiation skills to use if you find a good deal in December — sales people are chasing year-end targets.

9. Plan around your disposable income

Shopping tips and bargains are meaningless if you don’t have a budget that outlines where and how you’re going to hit the store aisles. Be realistic, have a list, and stick to it. Don’t get into debt because of promotions and bargain deals.

Pro tip: Use local newspapers or go online to find promotional flyers and plan your shopping around current in-store promotions.

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