HAVE you heard of the saying that we have the longest Christmas season in the Philippines? Perhaps you might have encountered the different announcements in your social media about discounts from brick-and-mortar stores or e-commerce platforms. Are you preparing for the upcoming events in your workplace, business or even your family gatherings?
With these things in mind, we need to be mindful of our finances this holiday season to ensure that we will not be in debt but enjoy the moments with our family, friends and love ones.
I would like to share eight insights on how to better manage our finances this season:
1. Build better spending habits. The usual trend on holidays is to splurge on what we think is important. Some believes that this is just once a year or few times a year that makes us become unaware that we are actually spending more than what we have. By building small habits of budgeting gifts and/or dining out, you will be more effective in managing the total expenses and not going into debt.
Write down your planned activities and set a buffer amount for unplanned events. This can help you identify where much of your allocation is going into and for you to prepare in the coming months on which can be prioritized.
2. Provide personalized gifts. If you have some skills that can be turned into gifts, this can be an advantage for you to save a lot.
To some of us who are artistic, you can create personalized letters, illustrations, or even prepare food that you can share to your love ones in the coming days or months. If you are like me who’s not creative, maybe you can ask help from your friends and/or love ones who can help you prepare personalized gifts on a cheaper cost. Remember that due to high demand, prices of goods and services will increase as well during the holiday season. So better utilize do-it-yourself gifts.
3. Shop around and look for good deals. It’s a cliché to think that great gifts are only those that are expensive. There are promos or good deals, especially if you buy more than two items.
Look for items online or in your favorite malls with the discounted price. This can be seen in websites or even by using your credit card wisely. There are some products that are discounted by 10 percent to 20 percent that can help you save and allocate the discount to other purposes.
Don’t be in a hurry. Take your time and plan your shopping list ahead of time so you can strategize and avoid impulsive purchases.
4. Save up a portion of your bonus and/or extra income. Most of us will receive our bonuses or extra income in the coming month.
While it is tempting to buy all the things that we want and even the things that we want to give, it is also prudent to set aside a portion of it. If you have extra money, then this can be a good opportunity for you to save for big purchases. If you’re a business owner, most likely this can be a principle that you can share to your employees and help them in their personal finance journey.
5. Choose an effective budgeting system. There are various ways how you can prepare your budget in the coming month. Here are some options:
The notebook and pen. This is a classic budgeting tool. Once we list down all the activities and the gifts that we need to buy, we can now set a certain realistic amount to have some safeguard in overspending. This way, we can also identify how much we can afford per each event and what the ceiling is for the items that we will buy for a certain number of people.
The spreadsheet. If you’re a Millennial, most likely than not, you usually use Excel files in your job. During your free time, try to list down quickly and have snapshots of your upcoming income plus bonuses and match it with your upcoming events and/or purchases. Use the formulas that you have been trained into in the past years of working.
Financial apps. For younger generations or even the more experienced ones, using an app is a pocket-friendly approach everywhere you go. You can search in your Google Play and/or Apple Store for the various budgeting apps that can summarize all your income, the ceiling that you would like to set as well as the different segments where your money is going.
This can be an enjoyable journey for you because, with just few buttons, you can now track your money and win in your personal finance journey.
With all these being said, my hope is for us to have meaningful celebrations and for us to look beyond the prices in giving and receiving gifts but to spend time in things that are more important to us. May you have a meaningful Holiday Season.
Karlo Biglang-awa is a registered financial planner of RFP Philippines. To learn more about personal-financial planning, attend the 104th RFP program this October 2023. To inquire, e-mail email@example.com or text at 0917-6248110.
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