The Christmas holidays are a big thing here in the Philippines. From the festive decorations to seeing the faces of our closest friends and family, there’s so many things that go into making Christmas the most wonderful time of the year for us. However, the one thing we do realise about the holiday season is the tendency to go a little overboard on the spending as we get caught up in the festivities and the last thing we want is to put a damper on our Christmas spirit whilst worrying about our credit card statements when January rolls in.
The good news is that there are plenty of clever strategies we can employ to help us properly manage our budget during the holidays without having to make any severe cuts to our celebrations.
Establish a budget
The golden rule of financial planning is to always have a budget at the ready so that you know where and how you’re going to be spending your money. Decide ahead of time how much you can afford to spend and divide your expenditure into categories: decoration, gifts, food and etc. Once you’ve got your categories sorted out, start allocating how much money you can afford to spend on each category and stick to it. Drawing up a budget ahead of time lets you visualise and better manage where your money will be going and prevents you from accidentally going over the line on your expenses.
Potluck it out
The best part about Christmas has got to be the food. Turkey, stuffing, pudding, the works. But as much as we love tucking into a massive Christmas feast with our loved ones, it’s also really easy for your grocery list to derail your Christmas budget which is why potlucks are a great (not to mention cheaper) alternative to just one person preparing an entire dinner and covering the expenses while doing so. Get everyone involved to bring their favourite holiday dishes and not only will you have a widespread variety of food at your Christmas get-together but you’ll also wind up saving on money and time.
Shopping online is a really convenient and not to mention cost-effective way to shop for all your holiday needs. From decorations to last-minute gifts, there’s always a chance of you scoring a bargain from holiday sales events or through an online retailer’s outlet section, and with 11.11 and 12.12 ( key online shopping dates) so close by to Christmas, you’re bound to be able to snag heavily discounted items in conjunction with these major online retail dates. Aside from that, there are also plenty of online deal portals such as Saleduck that help catalogue vouchers and coupon codes for you to apply on top of your purchases. The site also features great promos for gifts that can help you save as you shop for your loved ones. Just make sure to remember that these discounts are meant to help you trim your expenses and shop within your assigned budget.
Don’t splurge on gift wrap
Or don’t spend money at all. It may seem insignificant but the costs we invest into wrapping paper do add up, which is pretty silly considering the fact that most of us tend to tear them to shreds. While you can totally reuse your wrapping paper, we all know that part of the fun of opening presents comes from ceremoniously ripping apart the paper so instead of investing money into pretty gift wrap that’s just going to end up as tomorrow’s bin liner, wrap gifts in recycled newspaper or put them into gift bags – both of which you can customise with cards, bows and markers to add a festive, personal touch.
Especially handy for when you’re dealing with large groups of people, Secret Santa lets you retain the joys of gift-giving with the added pleasure of not having to burn a hole in your pocket on gifts for mum, dad, your best friend, cousins and your Uncle Pete. How it works is that everyone draws a name and only has to purchase a gift for that one person in the entire circle. Thoughtful and thrifty, just the way we like it. Alternatively, if you enjoy taking on crafts projects, handmade gifts are a wonderful way to surprise your loved ones without having to splurge too much.
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