Christmas is a season of festivities and fare when parties, get-togethers, gift-giving, and food shopping and preparation seem like an endless string of activities. However, as the fun meter goes up, so do our expenses. As much as we do not want to cut the fun by scrimping on our spending, we need to take some measures so as not to deplete our funds or see our 13th month pay dwindle quickly before our very eyes.
This Christmas season, be financially smart by following these tips:
1. Make a list and stick to it.
You don't have to buy the most expensive gift to make an intended recipient happy. You just have to get him/her the right gift. Listing down the names of the people you want to buy gifts for allows you to consider the most appropriate items within your allowable budget.
Check out your closet for any item you have bought but unable to use or any Christmas present that you were unable to give the previous year. If these items are as good as new, then you can still make them your Christmas presents this year.
3. Look out for sale events and bazaars.
Image: Manila Sundance Bazaar Facebook page
Whether shopping early or near Christmas time, be sure to know where the great deals are happening. Some sale events offer up to 70% discount on premium items, allowing you to buy more with less. Take note of the schedule and get there early so you can get first dibs on the best items.
4. Shop beyond the malls.
While malls offer a wide array of brands and gift items, you may also want to check out alternative places to shop. If you want unique and quaint items, you can search for some thrift shops around. Most of them usually teem with bohemian, antique, or rustic pieces especially home decors, fashion pieces, and handcrafted items that are charming yet affordable. You are sure to find something that’s worth giving away as a gift, or kept as part of your collection or for personal use.
5. Creatively “recycle” leftover Christmas food.
During Christmas parties or Noche Buena, our dining table turns into a buffet feast, often leaving us with more food than we can eat in a day. Rather than just re-heating leftover food the next day, it is more creative to “recycle” them. To recycle leftovers means to make a new dish or snack out of the original one, and we can serve them again without anyone complaining that it is exactly the same food from the party the previous night.
Here's an example: do you have some leftover chicken cordon bleu? Rough chop them, add in some greens and dressing, and you have yourself a savory salad. Got some fried chicken or pork barbeque left in the fridge? Flake them and add some mayo for a good bread spread or appetizing pate.
6. Save on gift wrapping.
You don’t have to buy wrapping paper for all your gifts. If you do not have any funds left for those trappings, rummage through your stuff and look for some old but colorful fabrics, pieces of old wrapping paper or wall paper, or paper bags with which you can wrap your gifts. You can also use recycled ribbons to tie them to add some holiday flair.
7. Shop online.
We all know how horrible traffic can get in the metro during Christmas season, which leads to additional fuel or transportation expenses. Consider buying from online shops that offer payment options such as cash on delivery or over-the-counter deposits for those who don’t have credit cards. A minimal delivery fee is better than the cost of the fuel you will consume trying to head to a crowded mall.
8. Exercise control over using your credit card.
Using a credit card is fine, but using it on a shopping spree can be quite detrimental. Armed with credit cards, some people impulsively buy items no matter how expensive these are. If you are an impulsive buyer, better leave your credit card at home. Pay in cash so you can have more control over your spending.
With Christmas sale and bazaars all around, it is tempting to go on a shopping binge like there’s no tomorrow. Holiday or not, we should remember to prioritize needs over wants and not to allow unmindful consumption to become our lifestyle.
About Ingrid Soriano
Ingrid is a freelance copywriter and content writer who also enjoys lifestyle writing on the side. When she’s not busy typing away, she whips up healthy meals and helps friends conceptualize and organize events. She also advocates social and creative entrepreneurship and hopes to build her own someday. She loves the beach and nature. She currently lives in the big city, but is a self-confessed probinsyana at heart.
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