Guiding consumers since 2009

Avoid getting ripped off this season

By Staff Writer
With both feet well into festive season preparations, in some cases pockets have already started feeling the pinch, as prices skyrocket making entertaining, shopping and merely enjoying the festivities tough. In this there are many ways that consumers are susceptible to being ripped off this season, Justmoney looks at the ways you can avoid falling into this pit.

The following are a few ideas to spending smartly:

-Make Lists: “Make a list of the people you want to buy gifts for, along with how much you’re expecting to spend on each person. Buck the trend and draw cash for each present according to the budget you’ve set, and put it in an envelope. Use only that envelope to pay for the gift, to make sure you stick to your budget! Make sure that there’s an envelope in there for you – because buying yourself a present is one of the best reasons to go shopping,” advises popular shoe brand, Skechers.

-Get going early: Do not procrastinate, do what shopping you can do today. Many shopping outlets have tapped into the November sales trend, so keep an eye out for those great deals. Also the earlier you get shopping out of the way the better, as the closer to Christmas we get, the more expensive items become.

-Use your time, make your gifts: If you are in the fortunate position of having time on your hands leading up to the Christmas holidays, use it wisely and instead of buying gifts, make them. “Artisanal goods are not just authentic if they’re purchased from a bearded hipster – anything that you make with love is right on the current artisanal trend. You could bake, sew, knit or crochet (whether you’re a guy or a girl), or even learn how to make beaded jewellery. Your imagination is your only limit, and you’re sure to save money too,” adds Skechers.

-Tap into your rewards programmes: All year long you’ve been shopping at outlets, swiping your various rewards cards and now is the time to cash in your diligence. Make sure you understand your rewards programme offerings, and use it to buy gifts or shop for food, to help stretch your budget further.

-Focus on needs, before wants: When drafting your budget or making shopping lists, make sure you address and budget for the essentials first. These include, food, fuel, accommodation etc. Naturally with it being festive season, you are wanting to splurge on entertainment too, and while it is okay to factor that into your budget, it shouldn’t be your top priority.
 
-Snack packs: Being on the go during the festive season is a given, and with it the temptation to eat out constantly. However, this exercise can prove costly. To cut costs and save, pack snacks from home and bring it along as you shop or run various errands. This tip will also come in handy when travelling with kids as they tend to get peckish often, this will take the edge off the hunger and enable you to save on expensive and big meals.
 
-Don’t be late with paying bills: The temptation to put bill paying on the back burner during this season is great, as you are wanting to free up some money to better the festivities. But this in fact can end up costing you quite a bit as you can be stuck with a higher interest rate or penalty fees on late payments.
 
-Think out of the box: When gifting this season, be mindful of what you already have, as you channel your creativity and shop smartly. “Upcycling or repurposing goods is another fun way to think out of the box for gifts this year,” said a spokesperson from Cash Converters.

The silly season is unavoidable, but being silly financially is, so find what works for you and your family in making sure the fun lasts all season long. 

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