The temptation to splurge on things we don’t need grows as we hit the end of the year. There’s the Black Friday frenzy; gift shopping; buying kids Christmas clothes; and the tradition of having braais and big Christmas lunches. 

Studies show that more sunlight makes us feel happier and, coupled with longer days, this creates the perfect environment for spending our hard-earned cash. 

Herman Lombard, founder and executive director of financial services provider, African Unity, cautions against buying luxury goods on credit or store cards as interest rates are high and the accumulation of more debt will increase your monthly expenses in the future.

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Herman gives us some pointers on how to stretch our money below: 

Budget

Create a budget that has a ‘wiggle room’ built into it for unplanned expenses, like an extra gift or outing. A budget that’s too tight could mean that you become frustrated and throw it out altogether.

Stick to your list

Write down a list of gift ideas for each person, groceries or whatever it is that you’ll be buying. Have a budget for each item and stick to it.  

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Opt for home-cooked meals

Eating out is expensive. Instead of splashing out on a restaurant, make a special meal at home using the food you already have. Make it a group effort and ask each person to bring a dish.  

Look for bargains

Stores often have bargains and sales in December, so take advantage of these money-saving opportunities, but be sure that it is a real bargain as retailers can be sneaky. Don’t go over budget though.

Home is where the heart is

With the ever-increasing petrol prices and holiday rentals at a premium over the holiday season, why not stay home and bond with your loved ones. Rather travel during off-peak season. 

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Create new, less expensive traditions

Outings don’t have to be lavish and expensive to be memorable. Be creative in planning festive outings that are free or inexpensive. Picnics at the beach or in the park, or a hike with beautiful views can be just as memorable as an outing to an expensive venue.

Try these tips so that you don’t have another Janworry.