It is Christmas time once again! The favorite holiday of Filipinos. It has been said that the Philippines has the longest Christmas celebration all over the world. As soon as BER-months arrive, we could hear Christmas carols being played. Decorations are being set up in every house.
In line with the Christmas spirit of giving, there comes a long list of inaanaks. Wealso exchange gifts in every Christmas party we attend. After all, Christmas only comes once a year so we might as well enjoy it.
Gift giving is already part of our culture. And there is nothing wrong with that. But Christmas spending left unchecked can get out of hand. You may end up starting the New Year paying debt incurred from the holidays.
The same way that you are aware of the results of eating all the holiday hams, queso de bolas, and lechon, approach your Christmas spending with the same kind of awareness to the results.
Here are some tips to make this a season to be merry:
1. Set a Christmas budget
As soon as you receive your 13th month pay and Christmas bonus, decide how much you are going to spend for the holidays. For example, you can have a separate envelope for each: gifts, noche buena feast, Christmas party and/or vacation. Do not forget to allot for the New Year celebration too!
2. Spend within your means
Make sure that you stick to your budget and spend only within your means. Never ever touch your investment and emergency funds for your holiday shopping. Think of all the hard work and discipline you had the past months (assuming that you have started investing). Do not spend it altogether in one month. Remember, no touching of emergency fund! No gift is an emergency.
3. Always pay in cash
As much as you can, try to purchase holiday gifts without using your credit card. This way, you are more likely to purchase only what you can afford. Save yourself any regret in January when you overspend buying expensive gifts.
4. Make a list
Just as Santa makes a list of who is naughty or nice, write down who will be on your list too! Decide how much you intend to spend on each person. If it exceeds your budget, you have a few choices: spend less or reduce the number of people on your list.
5. Avoid freebies
SALE and freebies are rampant this season. Never make a purchase based on the freebie. As we always remind everyone, nothing is for free. You are still paying for it one way or another. And regardless of how much you will save on a sale item, stick to what you can actually afford.
We are not trying to make you a Christmas Grinch. In fact, these tips will set things in order as you approach the holiday. Knowing how much to spend and how will you spend it will give you peace of mind because you do not have to worry about overspending. This makes you happier and more present spending quality time with the ones you love.
Question: What other tips can you suggest to avoid overspending this Christmas season?