DURING the festive season, most people are on holiday with nothing to do. This means that people spend a lot of time indoors sleeping, relaxing, watching TV – and eating too. And with relatives visiting during the holidays, there are always extra mouths to feed. So how do you budget for December groceries and make sure that you don’t run out of food during the holidays? Here are a few tips that will help you make your grocery last you longer this festive season. PLAN AHEAD It’s important to have a plan in place before the festive season starts. According to Siqobile Women’s Club, it’s advisable to join a social club or form a group with your family members where you put a certain amount of money aside to buy December groceries together. This will lessen the burden of spending a huge amount of money on groceries and you will also share in the benefits of shopping for more products as a group. MAKE A GROCERY LIST Write down a list of all the important stuff that you need before you go to the shops. The list will reduce the risk of impulse buys or buying unnecessary quantities and ensure that you stick to your budget. If you want to find every product on your list, make it a point that you go shopping early in the morning when the store opens because supermarkets or wholesalers tend to get packed during the day and some run out of stock around the festive season because most stokvel groups buy huge amounts of products during this time of the year.COMPARE PRICES AND LOOK OUT FOR BARGAINS Visit various wholesalers and supermarkets in your area and compare prices. This will help you know the different prices for different food categories. You can also open an account with the wholesaler or supermarket that you find relatively affordable to you for points, discounts and special offer notifications. BUY FOOD IN BULK Another stokvel group, Harmony Burial Club, suggests that it is always best to buy food in bulk. Buying in bulk prevents you from making countless trips to the supermarket to buy food items. The small amounts of money that you use with every trip add up to a huge amount. Buying in bulk also forces you to constantly monitor your cupboards and know what you are running short of. This ensures that you don’t buy what you don’t need and food doesn’t get wasted. However, check for expiry dates on food items before buying in bulk. Canned food can last you for as long as three months and even longer if stored correctly. VISITORS Find out the number of people who will be visiting your home during the holidays so that you can cater for them accordingly. This will help you know whether to downsize or spend more on food.