Saving money on holiday

Donna Willan Money cents

Finally, that well deserved year-end break is near! My question today is how can we relax and have fun without going into debt?

Some of you may remember my column from the beginning of the year, where I talked about ways to have a holiday get-away without going into debt. I had two suggestions: firstly save a little bit every month. Secondly, book and pay for the holiday accommodation early. I wasn’t so successful on the first one, but we did pay the accommodation in July, so it feels like we have a free holiday coming up!

For those lovely summer days at home, how can we have fun without hurting the credit card? Here are my top tips for saving money on holiday:

  • Picnics are a wonderful, inexpensive and fun way to spend time with friends while eating delicious food.
  • We love pizza and movies at home. We provide pizza bases and ingredients, and everyone assembles their own pizzas – delicious! If you can borrow a projector from work, you could even have the movie projected onto a wall outside. Just hang a white sheet over the wall. Super fun!
  • Change our attitude. Instead of asking, “Where shall we go today?” try asking, “What shall we do today?”. Think about what you can do at home as well, rather than always thinking you have to “go out” to have fun. If you have a garden or pool, create your own fun. A few iced drinks on the tray, garden umbrellas and brightly coloured picnic blankets transforms your garden wonderful fun place to relax and play. Indoor spaces can also be transformed into magical places.
  • Take on a holiday project. Some people find the idea of weeks off daunting. If this sounds familiar, find a project. You’ll end up running out of holiday time and you’ll also have an amazing end product. What excites you? Try:
    • a garden project
    • a mosaic on the garden wall
    • wood work
    • making a photo book
    • writing a new song
    • learning a new instrument
    • watch an entire series you’ve been meaning to catch up on.

Now is the chance to do something lovely for yourself, and it doesn’t have to cost much.

  • The fun envelope: Do you remember the fun envelope? Every month the kids and I put some money in it for our fun expenses. If you can, put a few hundred rand more this month. That way you can still allow yourselves some “paid fun”. No-one is suggesting we should never go out or never do anything that costs us money. It’s all about the right balance!

In January I think I’ll start with some planning, set some financial targets and plans to achieve them. Have a great holiday break, and if you have to work through the holidays, enjoy your weekends!


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