Christmas time is a very special time for South African families. For most of them, this could easily be the only time when they get presents such as new clothes and also get to eat special meals. However, like anywhere else in the world, shopping for Christmas can start off as an exciting experience but end up being a stressful one.  There are many reasons behind this, including the fact that many shops increase their prices as a result of escalating demand, the shops are so full that people have to step on each other’s feet, and in some cities like Johannesburg, there is always a risk losing money, you spent the greater part of the year working for, to conmen. We offer some tips that could make your Christmas shopping this year a little more exciting, cheaper, and safer.

Shop in Factory Shops

Even though many people don’t know this, everything available from your local mall is available from the many factory shops spread across many large and small cities in South Africa. The exciting thing is that the stuff you get in factory shops is just as good as that which you get from everywhere else. So, what’s the difference? You may ask. It’s the price. If you find the right factory shops, you will notice that the goods are much cheaper, which can help you to stretch your budget.

Make a shopping list

We know that people who buy their Christmas stuff in factory shops are budget conscious. This is the reason why they often get more bang for their buck. Ensure that you plan well in advance for your shopping trip. The planning process must start with a detailed shopping list. The shopping list ensures that you don’t end up buying impulsively, which negates the whole idea of saving that factory shops can make possible.

When you create a shopping list, start with stuff for people who are closest to you. Having a list also ensures that you also know which shops you want to go to exactly. Which leads to our second tip.

Be clear of the shops you want to go to

The internet of things has made it possible for anyone to identify the factory shops where they can get the stuff they need, from the comfort of their homes. This ensures that when you eventually go out, you know exactly where you are going. It’s much cheaper as you don’t waste fuel driving aimlessly.

Knowing where you want to go serves you from the frustration of having to go around in circles looking for stuff.  The traffic that may be experienced in some of South Africa’s large cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, and Pretoria during the festive season can get crazy.

Create a spending limit

Christmas time in South Africa, like everywhere else in the world, is a time of giving and giving involves emotions. However, don’t be carried away by your emotions and spend more than you can afford. To achieve this, set a spending limit.

Start by deciding on the number of people you are going to buy presents for. Once you are clear of this, set the total amount you want to spend. Decide how you are going to spend on each of the people. If you want to spend the same amount on each of them, divide the number into the amount. Once you know how much you want to spend, you will know the stuff you can and can’t afford.

Shop on your own

Yes, Christmas time is a great time to be with family but if you want to save money, go shopping on your own. This helps shoppers spend less money. Your family members or friends may fail to appreciate that you want to serve as they are mostly not involved in the decision-making processes prior to the shopping trip. Hence, they often distract you from your plan. It may be difficult to say no to a child or friend during the pressure of shopping.

Use cash

It’s easy to go over budget if you’re buying using credit, which in essence is money you don’t have in the first place. Buying using cash forces you to stick to your budget. It’s also great to know that at the end of the festive season you’re not in huge debt that will take you the rest of the new year to get rid of.

It’s easy to lose track of the amount you have spent when you are using credit. If you really struggle to stick to a budget, take your cash and put it into envelopes. Once you have spent all the money from a particular envelope, you know you have bought everything you can afford in that category.

Try this trick and you will see how great you will feel in January next year when everybody else is broke and you still have money. This money will assist you to take care of important things such as the kids’ school fees and uniforms.

Watch out for conmen

In South Africa, looking for affordable stuff can leave you exposed to fraud stars and conmen. Before you ask someone to help you, even inside a factory shop, ensure that they work in the shop. It’s easy for someone to tell you that they can get you something cheap, only for them to take your cash and disappear into the shopping crowd.

Only pay at a till where a legitimate shopping assistant will give you your stuff at the same time as they give you the merchandise you have come to buy.

Factory shopping for Christmas in South Africa can be an exciting task, but as a country that also has a high unemployment rate, it also has a high crime rate. You will always need to be diligent when shopping in the major cities such as Johannesburg. Follow the tips above, and have a merry Christmas that you will remember.