Save and plan during the holidays

by | Dec 4, 2020 | Personal Finance

As we head into the holidays and government has advised us to once again be extra vigilant and stay home and take safety precautions against rising numbers of Covid-19, now would be a good time to take a look at our finances and save money – whilst getting our “financial’ house in order.

Stay inside

Isolation in smaller dwellings is hard, but we still need to try to do it. There is no excuse for unnecessarily roaming the streets in search of entertainment. Our health comes first. It doesn’t help trying to manage the little money you do have – if you are severely ill or dead.

Track your expenses and draw up a budget

Being home is best time to get a good overall view of your finances. Write down everything you buy. Keep all your slips neatly and start recording every cent you spend.


Daily necessities as well as school fees, school uniforms and stationery should be top of mind right now. Everything else is not a priority.

Stop all and any unnecessary spending.

Now is not the time for “too much” Some people get into the mindset of “things are bad, I’ll feel better if I spoil myself and my kids”.

This is not a good approach, especially if unsure of having an income in the upcoming months. We literally can’t survive on love and fresh air!

Bored? Dig out the paperwork

You have the time. Start digging out all your financial contracts and paperwork.

  • Go through the paperwork and make a note of who you owe what to.
  • Have a look at what your interest rates for every debt is. If you can afford to, then pay back the most expensive ones (the ones with the higher interest rates) first.


Scale down

  • Cancel subscriptions to apps you don’t need.
  • Stop your DSTV or switch to a cheaper package.
  • Check out the terms and conditions and cancellation clauses and penalties applicable.
  • Check your medical aid and see what your options are to scaling down to cheaper, more suitable packages.
  • If possible, try not to skip medical aid and insurance premiums if you wish to remain covered. As yet, no “payment breaks” has been issued on these premiums. T’s+C’s apply, but in most cases – if you don’t pay, your cover stops and you cannot claim.


Talk to your children about the financial situation in the house.

  • If things are tough and there needs to be a tightening of belts to get through the next few weeks, then you children must be aware of the situation.


Save money on the way you do things

While it’s not always possible to physically put money under the mattress or in a savings account, we can still “save”.

  • Switch off your geyser during the day. If you save R10 a day on electricity this way – that’s R300 a month that can go towards something else
  • Make food that feeds more people – and where leftovers can be frozen. Soups and bredies (even without meat) go a long way these days.
  • Medicines are costly. Make your own immune system boosters from natural ingredients.
  • Check for specials on cellphone data and airtime deals during this time.


Do your homework and find cheaper food prices

  • Sadly, the prices of food has increased tremendously during lockdown. Sometimes by as much as 30% on basic items like rice and sugar. By keeping track of “specials” of various grocery stores, you can save at quite a bit of money on your weekly or monthly grocery purchases.


The most important bit of advice that I can give today is this:

Don’t try keeping up with the Jones’. There are no more Jones’s!

  • Ask for help and take help when it is offered.
  • Give – where and when you can
  • It’s OK to be worried and stressed about your finances. Realise that it’s OK not to be OK.
  • It’s OK for the house to be untidy during the holidays. it’s OK for the children to not be perfectly groomed.


These are unprecedented times in world economies and in our households, but we should approach it with the same mindset.

Times are tough – but so are we. This too shall pass.

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