Do you sometimes go to a department store with your significant other, pick a card for each other, read the dedication on it, and put it back on the display rack?
Yes, some couples from the Our Minimalist Lifestyle Facebook Group, of which I am actually a part, do. This is to veer away from the consumerism that special seasons, such as Valentine’s Day, promote.
With this year’s Valentine’s Day over, other seasonal events are now emerging to grab our attention, and money from our budget. Graduation Day is one of those occasions during which spending seems inevitable, and for many of us, summer outings are a necessary way to take a break from all that hard work, starting as early as March. How can one even manage to save money in these instances?
One approach is to spend sparingly, or only for practical purposes. This is a common money-saving tip that can be applied throughout the year. So, how does one go about it? A certain Adrian Scott dela Cruz, for example, posted something on social media which has gone viral – giving his girlfriend a sack of rice as a Valentine gift, instead of the traditional bouquet of flowers, which just costs the same.
For occasions that normally involve gift-giving, such as Valentine’s Day, Graduation Day, or Christmas, a practical tip would be to identify the person/s who would be recipients of your gifts and find out what they need for their personal or professional use. I gave a new wallet as a gift to my significant other on Valentine’s Day because he mentioned four months ago that the wallet he’d been using for 10 years was already broken. My sisters and I did the same for our mother – we gave her a printing calculator for her retail business last Christmas. This might sound like taking away the romanticism that goes along with gift-giving, but giving practical gifts also shows the thoughtfulness you’ve put into the selection process.
Another practical tip is to avoid overspending that results in surplus food or supply. You could exercise your assessment skills when you plan your next summer outing – do some meticulous planning of a budget to make sure it is proportional to the needs of the people joining the event. This will not only save you money but also time.
While these tips sound easy and feasible, they may be challenging when you put them into practice because of our cultural norms. For instance, scrimping on a special once-a-year occasion might be frowned upon. The key is to develop the habit of looking for creative ways to save money on recurring occasions suitable to your lifestyle.
Kristel Silang is content manager at MoneyMax.ph, a financial comparison website aiming to help Filipinos save money through diligent comparisons of financial products.