With a snap of two fingers and a glance over your shoulder, the first quarter of this year has briskly walked on by, ready to pass on the relay baton. Up in Joburg, summer has dangled out the “gone fishing” sign early, and a hint of autumn is in the air.
This change of season also brings with it a couple of shortened work weeks as Human Rights Day and an upcoming Easter weekend shave off a little on the front- and back end of a normal 5-day, nine-to-five stint. Regardless of which way you lean religiously, the long Easter weekend generally represents a time for all of us to hang out with good friends and family. A welcome respite from the thin layer of stress and strain the first quarter of the year has lightly brushed onto us.
But anytime we aren’t working, it means we are probably spending money, right? And a long Easter weekend means a lot of get-togethers, treasure hunts, drinks, food, and for some of us an entire hop (excuse the pun), skip and jump out of town for the entire weekend.
How do we make sure that the bunny doesn’t break the bank?
We’ve come up with four easy-to-implement, money-saving tips for your Easter Weekend.
1. Don’t go bunny bonkers on the Easter egg hunt
If you have young children, it’s a real treat for any parent when their kid pulls out an Easter egg from beneath a rock in the back garden and hold it like a world cup winning captain. The sweet innocence of the archaeological dig is soon replaced by a mob of children high on a sugar-rush, who have ditched the egg-laden wicker baskets for the jungle gym.
It’s all part and parcel of a century old tradition most of us still participate in, but how much is enough?
You can go to town on Lindt bunnies, that are expertly crafted by a Swiss chocolatier, and have zero money left at the end of the month, or you can apply a little common sense.
Be realistic about how many eggs your kids need to uncover and how long the entire experience is going to last before their energy levels drop and the enthusiasm levels plummet.
Set a budget based on what you can afford and remember your kids don’t know the difference between a Beacon bunny and one imported from the Alps.
2. Stay at home, do a family lunch and have everyone bring something
It’s nice to eat out once in a while, but it’s really expensive these days. If you aren’t going away this long weekend, and you plan to meet up with friends and family, why not do the safe and sensible thing – “Kuier bietjie by die huis”. COVID is still hanging on like an old athlete past its prime, but it’s still something for all of us to consider every day, especially when we plan to get together in larger numbers.
This Easter weekend you can have a sensible get together with friends and family that ticks all the COVID protocol boxes and do it in a budget-friendly manner. Rather than breaking the bank, heading out for a boozy bit of banter, invite everyone around and have them each bring something (food or drinks).
3. Do a weekend away on an Airbnb budget
Are you planning to hand in that leave form and stretch your Easter weekend into a week-long stay somewhere in the country? Rather than booking into an expensive hotel, guesthouse or bed & breakfast, consider downloading the Airbnb App (if you haven’t already) and start looking for other options. Since this house-sharing model was conceived back in 2007, the company has grown from strength to strength and now thousands of options are available in South Africa.
You can get away for a lekker long-weekend for less than you think if you are prepared to do a little research and check out a few options.
4. Plan some activities with the kids that don’t cost an arm and a leg
Long weekends can feel awfully drawn out when the kids are bouncing off the walls because they are “bored” and “have nothing to do”. Sometimes as parents we tend to throw money at the “we have nothing to do” problem by piling into the car and heading out to sign up for any activity that puts an end to the endless moans and groans.
If our monthly budget had voices, they would be pleading for us not to make knee-jerk spending decisions like going to the movies and buying milkshakes for the second time in a week, especially when we are already battling to balance the books.
Very much like adults, children respond better when they have an idea of how things are going to play out. Doesn’t it make more sense to work out a little “Easter entertainment” budget that fits snuggly into your monthly budget and then sit the kids down with a roster of activities for the long weekend?
Obviously, we don’t expect you to feel like you are under house arrest and the only activity you have planned is four days of finger painting. That’s completely unrealistic.
But what is reasonable is a balance between some activities that don’t cost very much and some time out and about that obviously does cost a few bucks.
What are your plans this Easter and how are you planning to have a wonderful time with family and friends without completely blowing your budget?
Until next time.
The Wise About Life Team