It’s always the same story when it comes to doing stuff we don’t want to do, whether it’s getting fit or quitting smoking, we know we should be trying harder and persevering, but that’s just not very fun, is it? The same can be said for saving money, we know we should be spending less, but sometimes it’s just not that simple. Budgeting is something most of us need to do, however, so thankfully there’s a plethora or information available and more tips and tricks than you can shake a stick at.
One of our favourite money saving hacks is the 30-day rule, created by psychologists with the aim of reducing the urge to splurge when it strikes. The concept is simple; when you find yourself wanting to buy something (that you don’t necessarily need) make yourself stop, leave the shop, then make a note of the date, item description, price, and store location. After 30 days if you still find you’re in desperate need of this product, then go ahead, no judgements. The idea behind this rule is that if you take spontaneity out of the thought process, you’re more likely to make a rational decision and only buy things you genuinely have a need for.
One of the main issues with saving money that puts people off is that, quite simply, living on a budget isn’t very fun. Old Mutual have some great tips for making budgeting more enjoyable, such as turning it into a game or competing against your friends to see who can do best. You could set yourself targets to keep to, or withdraw a set amount of cash at the beginning of the week and make sure you don’t spend more than your allowance. The bonus is, at the end of your challenge you get rewarded with all the money you’ve saved!
When it comes to gift-giving, you don’t really have a choice but to spend money. Sure, it’s nice to give people presents and see the glee on their face, but when you’re saving for something important and your sister’s husband’s vet’s niece is expecting a birthday present it’s just a bit… inconvenient. That said, there are some fantastic homemade gift ideas out there, check out these guides from Show Me and Eco Footprint South Africa for some great low-cost handmade goodies.
Whilst homemade gifts are incredibly thoughtful and can be very personal to the recipient, it can also tell them that you haven’t spent any money, and to some people that’s the most important thing! So, how do you buy someone a gift that looks expensive but isn’t going to break the bank? Why, with one of our experience gift certificates under R500 of course! We’ve put together this article to help you find a unique and exciting low-cost gift that they’ll love, but will also keep your money saving on track so you can sleep a little better. Experience gifts come in all shapes and sizes, covering a range of locations and activities that will suit a variety of personalities – so you’re guaranteed to find something special! Read on for our top seven picks, and as always please get in touch if you have any questions or comments.
Best For: Off-road adventurers
Established in 1692, Spier Farm is home to stunning landscapes...delicious food...illustrious art... and above all, Segways! This one-hour tour is a chance to explore the farm in a rather unique way, all aboard your own off-road Segway. The perfect adventure for any age and any ability, to begin you’ll be taught the basic controls of how to move around. Once comfortable, you’ll work your way around an obstacle course and follow your guide onto the farm. This truly is the Segway tour with a difference, as you whizz along you’ll learn all about the farm’s ingenious biodynamic farming techniques. This fascinating activity is wonderful for anybody interested in wine, agriculture, sustainability and futuristic personal vehicles! At just R375 for an off road adventure and cultural experience all rolled into one, what are you waiting for?
Where: Port Elizabeth
Best For: Seafoodies
One of our favourite experiences available in our online catalogue is the Oyster Farm Boat Cruise in Port Elizabeth; two hours of sailing, sightseeing, and seafood tasting. The cruises are operated by a lovely couple who have been in the industry for years, so you’re in safe hands aboard their 38ft catamaran – even if you’re still unsure about oysters! A trip to Zwembesi Oyster Farm is sure to convince you though, where you’ll learn about the cultivation and growing process, and get to taste six of the freshest oysters imaginable. Once the tour is over, the boat will head back to the Algoa Bay Yacht Club in Port Elizabeth harbour which is jam-packed with restaurants, shops and bars for you to explore. Boat trips don’t come much more unique than this, and for only R300 you’d be hard done by to find someone who didn’t enjoy the experience – oyster fan or not! A scenic boat cruise makes a thoughtful gift for foodies that they’ll remember for a lifetime.
Best For: Competitors
If your gift recipient has a competitive streak, then this Archery Experience in Parys will be just the thing to get them excited. For only R120 you’ll receive a one hour archery lesson from a professional instructor, just a short distance from Johannesburg and close to the Vredefort crater – not a bad setting for some ancient weaponry! In fact, did you know that archaeologists found evidence of bows and arrows in a KwaZulu-Natal cave that date back nearly 64,000 years? Amazing! Throughout the experience guests will receive top quality tuition and a range of games and targets to test their skills, with instructors on hand to offer guidance and tips to improve accuracy. You’ll learn about the different names for each part of the bow and arrow, and be hitting a bullseye every time by the end! An archery lesson is a great gift for competitive personalities that they definitely won’t expect, and could turn into a fun new hobby.
Best For: Couples
Treat someone to a taste of luxury at a fraction of the cost with this wine tasting experience at Val Du Charron in Wellington, only R98 per person. The winery is a sprawling estate set amongst mountains and rolling hills, renovated from a 17th century farmhouse into a modern but classic family friendly wine and olive farm that boasts a spa, two restaurants, and a number of outdoor activities. The ‘Theatre of Wine’ experience includes three of the wineries most popular blends; the Cape blend, New World white wine blend, and the Rhone-style blend, which a professional wine tutor will talk you through during this informative half hour session. Sharing an intimate wine tasting experience at a beautiful vineyard is a truly romantic experience, ideal for couples of all ages who enjoy the finer things in life. A wine tasting gift certificate would be hugely appreciated, and none are more glamorous or indulgent than the Theatre of Wine experience at Val Du Charron, a mere hour outside of Cape Town.
Best For: Animal lovers
Get up close and personal with some of nature’s most incredible animals during this birds of prey experience in Stellenbosch, Western Cape. For only R130, guests can gain access to the conservation facility and marvel at the many owls, falcons, hawks, reptiles and eagles housed there, and learn about the amazing work the staff do to preserve endangered species and keep their residents happy and healthy. The star of the show, however, has to be their majestic Verreaux’s Eagle, named Leo. This gift certificate entitles the lucky recipient to a one-on-one encounter with Leo, supervised by one of the friendly staff members who will give a talk about Leo’s unique characteristics, feeding habits, and how he came to reside at the centre. You’ll be utterly captivated by Leo’s beautiful plumage and steely gaze, and since an encounter is only R130, you can go back again and again! The Stellenbosch Eagle Encounter Experience is the perfect gift for animal lovers, guaranteed to bring a smile to their face.
Best For: Wine lovers
Treat somebody in your life to a wonderful day of wine tasting, vineyard exploring and cellar touring with the Avondale Eco Wine Safari in Paarl! Beginning in the Tasting Gallery, you will start with an introduction to the Estate and a look into the various methods Avondale farmers use to revolutionise the wine-making process. Next you’ll be all aboard into the tractor train for a tour of the vineyard, tasting the delicate wines in the very place they all began! Once you’ve taken in the breathtaking views, it’ll be time to head underground to the gravity flow cellar for a tour of the slow wine production. At only R300 for up to 3 hours of organic wine tasting in the incredible Klein Drakenstein mountains, what’s not to love? This indulgent experience is the perfect for the eco conscious wine lover in your life.
Where: Kei Mouth (East London)
Best For: Kids
With no minimum age requirement, this relaxed and enjoyable horse riding lesson near East London is fun for the whole family, and comes in at number 7 on our list of affordable experience gifts under R500. Starting in Kei Mouth within the Eastern Cape Wild Coast region, the lesson begins with a warm welcome from the instructor, and a quick tutorial in how to saddle up, mount, and ride your noble steed. As soon as everyone is comfortable on horseback, you’ll set off as a group along the glorious coastline, savouring the salty sea air and feasting your eyes on the stunning panorama around you. Eastern Cape has some of the most scenic coastline in all of South Africa, so what better way to witness the natural wonders than on a leisurely horse ride along the sand. This 90 minute lesson makes a thoughtful gift for animal lovers and young families, and is ideal for getting the kids out of the house and enjoying the great outdoors.
Thanks For Stopping By!
Saving money can be stressful, but hopefully we’ve alleviated some of that anxiety with a number of top budget busting tips, and a list of fantastic experience gift ideas all for under R500. Low-cost doesn’t always equate to bad, in fact, some of the most popular experiences on our site are at the lower end of the price scale, so don’t be put off! As the saying goes, it’s the thought that counts, and we can’t think of anything that’s more thoughtful than an experience you’ll remember forever.
If you have any questions or want to know more about a particular experience then please use the comments form to get in touch, but for now that’s all we’ve got – thanks for reading!