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How to enjoy the festive season on a budget

Finance & Money

Posted on Tuesday, December 1, 2020

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Ah, festive season. Time to spend quality time with your loved ones, but also to empty your wallet!


The good news is that the season of giving  doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. There are plenty of ways to have a ball while saving.


Here are a few activities to consider:


Have a bring-and-share


A great way to save while hosting a gathering is to have a bring-and-share, where everyone contributes something. Keep the following in mind when hosting:


  • Food registry. Having a form of registry comes in handy when it comes to making sure you don’t end up with four of the same dishes.
  • Communicate prearrangements. Encourage your guests to let you know of any extra arrangements before time, for example special kitchen equipment, utensils, etc.  
  • Don’t pressure anyone into bringing certain items. Allow everyone to contribute what they can afford.  
  • Ensure everyone is safe and healthy. Ask everyone to use their own cutlery and crockery, and stick to the recommended number of guests.


Consider health and safety


Monitoring and maintaining  the health and safety of your guests is important, especially when hosting. With a little help from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Airbnb, there are guidelines to follow to maintain a safe gathering.


  • Stay at home or postpone the event if you or one of your guests is not feeling well.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Follow social-distancing rules and regulations (1.5–2m apart).
  • Wash and sanitise your hands before, during and after handling any food.


Warmer days have returned, which means you can take the festivities outdoors where there’s more ventilation. Hosting outside gives you room to go wild with the theme and Christmas decorations. From a bring-and-braai to a garden mini feast and summer tea party, the options are endless.


Give entertainment some thought


It would not be a complete get-together without any games. To avoid spontaneous splurging, use what you have at home.


Inclusivity is key. Make sure your games accommodate all age groups. It is also important that there is variety in the type of games played, i.e. look at the activity level as well as the level of difficulty. The aim is to entertain not bore.


On days when the sun is out, take it outside and have some outdoor fun. You could play a game of Christmas charades or Name that Carol – there are many budget-friendly games to choose from. On rainy days when you’re trapped indoors, dust off those board games. Gather the family and play a game of monopoly or 30 Seconds, or show off your vocal abilities with some karaoke.


Get creative with decorations


Decorations and festivities go hand in hand and don’t have to be pricey. It’s time you put your DIY skills to use. 


  • Choose a theme and colour scheme. Before you go too far, get an idea of the kind of look and feel you are after.
  • Google it. There is a world of websites with step-by-step tutorials for making absolutely anything, DIY-style. Explore your options.
  • Recycle and reuse. Look around and gather all the potential recyclable items you can give a facelift.
  • Get the family involved. This is a fun way to keep your family busy. Have everyone head certain mini projects, for example DIY Christmas-tree ornaments and decoration, wreaths, table decorations, etc.
  • Have fun. Most of all, make this a time to bond and have fun with the family. 


While you may be on a strict budget, there is no restriction on the amount of fun you can have this holiday season. Go out and make the most of what you have with the ones you love.