The festive season is jam-packed with family and friends, and heaps of gifts. But this tendency to socialise a lot and be generous can also leave purses a little empty.

Thankfully, there are some smart money habits that can help you spend less, and still have as much fun over the festive season. Above all, you should closely track where your money is going and be more aware of your spending habits in order to eliminate unnecessary spending.

Here are some other smart shopping tips to help you save money this Christmas:

Don’t just buy something because it’s on sale

Although sales are wonderful ways to save money when buying expensive items that have been marked down, or products you’d like to stockpile for future use, try not to get sucked into the addictive pastime of chasing down a deal, just for the sake of it.  Regardless of bargain prices an extra expense is just that – yet another drain on your resources. Before being lured by the “on sale” signs, as yourself if you really need that sale item, to begin with.

Downgrade your brand purchasesGoing for the cheapest is a bit over the top but how about dropping a brand level on everything you can? If you do, the overall price drops by roughly 30%. That’s because often, you’re only paying for the branded packaging anyway.

Be voucher savvy

Vouchers can help you save when doing that large beginning-of-the-month shop. Be sure to have a look in the newspapers or online to see what deals or coupons South Africa’s large supermarket chains have to offer. 

 

Follow sales cycles

Some products are cheaper at certain times of the year. Familiarise yourself with seasonal sales and use this to your advantage by building a shopping calendar.

Make those shopping lists


Creating a shopping list before setting out to the shops will not only make the whole outing finish a lot faster, it will also stop you from wasting money on things you don’t need. Shopping keeps you focused on what you need – and don’t. 


Give alternative gifts


Don’t want to blow cash on store-bought gifts? You can hand-make presents or offer a service instead. People will love your thoughtfulness, and you’ll get to pocket the cash you would have otherwise spent.
 

 

Don’t shop on an empty stomach

If you shop for food when hungry, you’re more likely to buy snacks you don’t need or yummy treats that aren’t essentials. Not only that – studies have shown that hungry shoppers often buy higher-kilojoule foods than those who shop on a full belly. Eat before grocery shopping to be kinder to your bank balance – and your waistline.

Buy in bulk 

Buying in bulk saves you money and allows you to stockpile the essentials that you end up having to rebuy on a regular basis.

Compare prices

Shop around for the best prices, rather than buying everything from the same shop just because it’s convenient.

Delay gratification

Giving yourself more time to think about a purchase means you’ll make a more informed, less impulsive decision.

Buy junk food in moderation. . .

Or avoid buying it altogether if you can. This includes sweets, chocolate bars, biscuits, wafers, cool drinks, chips, and so on – things your body doesn’t actually need.
 

 

Don't try keep up with others

Friends can influence your spending, especially if they like a bit of retail therapy. A survey conducted by the American Institute of CPAs found that nearly two-thirds of people in their twenties and early thirties feel pressure to keep up with their friends when it comes to spending.

Keep spending records

A spending record makes you really conscious of your spending habits and it provides proof of your challenges and progress. Plus, keeping a daily and weekly spending record is the first step towards establishing a monthly budget, which is the basis of financial planning.

Sources:

www.oprah.com; instructables.com; buzzfeed.com; frugalinsa.com; oldmutual.co.za; nutriday.co.za