‘Save money’, perhaps is the most prostituted New Year’s resolution next to lose weight. In the Philippines, Christmas transcends beyond the 25th. But, who’s to blame? Freebies and sales are everywhere. Everyone spends, if not overspends.
I know, it is a bit late, albeit a sort of damage control to the surging holidays impulse. Here are some advice to minimize financial embarrassment and holidays hangover:
1. Connect with the real purpose of the holidays and what you really value about this season.For some this may still mean the giving and receiving of gifts but for others what makes this season so special may be the time off and time spent in the company of family, friends and loved ones.
2. Set a budget for your holiday spending and do your best to stick to it.Try not to get too carried away with the Christmas hype.
3. Make a list .Santa does it and you should too! It’s much easier to shop and stick to a budget when you have an idea of what you want to buy for, and how much you want to spend! It also means you can shop around and research the best price of items for sale.
4. Be mindful of ways to give this holiday period gifts don’t always have to be material or monetary.Sometimes the best gifts can often be in the form of our time and attention.
5. Think about spending alternatives.Can you make something or buy second hand? There are plenty of creative ideas that you can gift. Choose value over price tag. In order to be valued a gift doesn’t have to be expensive.Try going for more thoughtful and less expensive gifts. As the saying goes… it’s the thought the counts which is a great motto to remember when doing your Christmas shopping!
6. Leave the credit cards at home!One of the biggest culprits in the holiday spending splurge are credit cards! But just remember, every time you reach for the Visa or Mastercard, or swipe the AMEX, you’re using future income, not income you’ve even earned yet, to buy these things!
7. Recycle or upcycle.If you do receive an unwanted gift this year, rather than sticking it in the cupboard or garage see if you can return or exchange it, or even give it to charity.
The foregoing may be taken as tips from the financial expert’s stance. Yet, these are not clear-cut means to curb unnecessary spending. The best way,still, is to spend within your means. And, to avoid sales, if not malls. Saving, not spending, holidays sounds cool. After all, the reason for this season is not the material gift we give or receive.