A family of 6 taking a selfie together

12 budgeting tips for affordable family gatherings

Planning for festivities on a budget can pose a challenge. It’s fun to travel, shop, exchange gifts, cook and feast with your loved ones, but it’s also costly.

Embracing the spirit of togetherness doesn’t have to break the bank, however, notes JustMoney.co.za, a platform that helps South Africans make good money choices.

“Creativity and careful budgeting can enable families to plan memorable celebrations without over-straining their budgets,” says Sarah Nicholson, operations manager of JustMoney. “We’ve compiled a list of tips to help families make the most of their holiday celebrations without splurging and getting into debt.”

Create a budget and stick to it. Determine the total cost of the celebration, set a spending limit, allocate funds and consider cost-saving measures such as buying in bulk and splitting expenses with family members.

List the people for whom you wish to buy gifts, and decide what type of presents to get – or better yet, make – if you have the time and you’re feeling creative.

Plan meal prep for significant days. Draw up menus and shopping lists, buy non-perishables ahead of time and freeze items such as meat. Local, in-season fruits and vegetables are cheaper than imported items.

Never grocery shop when hungry. This golden rule applies even more if you’re fasting or avoiding particular foods.

Look out for sales, discounts and special deals such as ‘buy two get one free’.

Avoid using credit recklessly, whether through store accounts or credit cards, or taking out loans. It’s vital to spend consciously and avoid racking up bad debt.

Check your bank accounts regularly and report unrecognised transactions immediately.

Avoid expensive bank fees by drawing cash at retail store tills or using your own bank’s ATMs only.

Bake at home – it’s a great way to be creative and save money. Ask relatives for tried-and-trusted family recipes and start your own traditions.

Make your own decorations. You can search online for concepts and templates.

Host potluck gatherings. Ask each guest to bring a dish. Besides saving money, these dinners are a time saver when shopping, cooking and cleaning up.

Educate your children about money and the cost of living. Get them involved and teach financial responsibility. Family celebrations are a great time to do this.

“By following these simple steps, you can save hundreds of rands and avoid the stress of last-minute shopping,” says Nicholson. “Focus instead on spending quality time with family and friends and creating memories, instead of depleting funds.”

Image credit: Freepik

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