Guiding consumers since 2009

More festive season saving tips

By Staff Writer
Between all those party invitations and gifts to buy for family and friends, the urge to splurge in the run-up to the festive season is at its peak. But, to avoid breaking the bank before the New Year even begins, consider these useful tips from Capitec Bank's Carl Fischer, Executive: Marketing and Corporate Affairs.

1. Draw up a budget. Just as it's a good idea to work from a list when doing your Christmas shopping, it's important to take into account all your holiday expenses - from gifts to travel, food and accommodation. This means you need to work out what you can afford before you spend. If you count on your bonus or thirteenth cheque for your holiday money, remember to factor in January's expenses like groceries and school fees, otherwise you run the risk of running out of money in the New Year. Budgeting will also help prevent any debit orders from bouncing and avoid incurring additional bank charges.

2. Cash versus debit versus credit. A debit card, which is linked to the available money in your savings account, is more convenient and safer than carrying cash. Because the money is deducted or debited immediately, it automatically stops you from spending more than you have. A debit card allows you to make point-of-sale purchases at retailers and draw money from ATMs or at the pay-points of selected retailers. Transactions with a debit card from Capitec Bank holds extra benefits, like paying no transaction fees on purchases at retailers and paying as little as R1 for cash withdrawals at an ATM or retailer. In comparison, a credit card allows you to borrow an approved amount of money from a bank. This is useful for big purchases such as a family holiday or an expensive gift. However, the downside is you are charged interest on the amount you borrow and, if not settled within the specified period, could end up costing you a lot more than the cash price.

3. Regularly check your bank statements. Unauthorised charges and reports of lost or stolen cards increase significantly during the holiday time so it's important to regularly check your account and report unrelated transactions immediately. Online banking is not only the fastest way to review your account, it is also the most secure, especially if an e-token - a one-time password device exclusive to Capitec Bank - is used.

4. Drawing cash. The most affordable way to draw cash is from the teller of selected retailer stores like Pick n Pay. However, if you have to use an ATM, avoid getting hit with expensive fees by using your own bank whenever possible.

5. Empower your kids
. The festive season is a great time to educate your kids about money. Whether they've already started saving or are receiving a holiday allowance, help them plan their own Christmas shopping budget by identifying who they want to buy presents for and how much they have to spend. This will teach them about the cost of living, responsibility and sticking to a budget.

6. BYO (bring your own). If you want to entertain family and friends but want to side-step the hefty price-tag, consider hosting a pot-luck dinner where each guest is asked to bring along a dish for the meal. Besides saving money, pot-luck dinners are a real time-saver when it comes to shopping, cooking and cleaning up.

7. Talk is cheap. Avoid entering the New Year with a sky-high telephone bill. Rather call family and friends with season's greetings using the free minutes on your cellphone package or during landline off-peak times. Some mobile packages offer free weekend minutes (meaning no minutes are deducted from your contract) and free calls when you're dialling a cellphone from the same carrier (free mobile-to-mobile). Or, better still consider signing up for Skype and talk for a fraction of the cost.

For more information on how you can manage your funds according to your needs while earning the best interest on flexible savings, visit www.capitecbank.co.za.

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