Wise holiday spending


FOR Filipinos, spending for their loved ones can’t be wrong, but there are new spending realities that are continually emerging these days, when holiday shopping is already in full swing.

Traffic jam creates possibilities in capturing the attention of the buying public. It often garners brand loyalty but experts notice purchase behavior shift; new consumerism alter priorities and value conscious consumption dictates decision.

There’s also an intensified shift to digital shopping as consumers seek convenience, access to product reviews and price comparisons to avail of the best deals.

Purchasing now is easy via multiple devices and channels from tablets to social media to stores. Those who can wisely use these available devices will be able reap the benefits available to them.

With all these in mind, the holiday season doesn’t have to be budget-buster. Try trimming the expenditures without sacrificing any of the holiday experience. The following are some suggestions:

Create a budget
Consider establishing a general spending cap or try allocating a specific amount to each person on your guest list. Be aware, though that while making a holiday budget is helpful, it can also go sour in some ways. Don’t just pick number out of thin air—think things over. Gift giving is a huge expense during the holidays, but don’t forget the other costs you incur throughout the season. Remember to make sure you’re spending within your means.

Visualize spending
Before you hit the mall, it’s good to have a comprehensive place so you can visualize where exactly your money is going this holiday season—that way, you can celebrate rather than panic.

Check your spending
If your budget is not followed, then it’s useless. You can keep a separate Christmas fund in a dedicated bank account. It will be easier for you to separate holiday spending from regular, day-to-day expenses.

Don’t let “extras” eat your budget
Avoid splurging during the holiday season. Sometimes, we’re guilty of indulging a little more than we should just because it’s the holiday season. However, you can get stuck in a trap and before you know it, “extras” eat into your budget. Before spending on a little extra, be sure it’s really worth the price.

Take a second look on ‘sales’
Holiday sales can be an epic opportunity to save money—but be careful. Not all deals are created equal. Some may not even be truly discounted, so always compare shops before you buy an item. Remember also to bring your budget list so you can check your spending and avoid being swayed by a screaming deal.

Try “Secret Santa” experience
Instead of buying for each member of the family, try a Secret Santa experience. Look for charity institutions and instead of buying presents for your own family members or relatives, choose to purchase gifts for the anonymous beneficiaries. It will relieve you of the stress and financial burden of exchanging gifts with your loved ones but it will give you a chance to talk about the importance of service and giving during the holidays.

Prefer less-expensive valuable traditions
Traditions are what make the holidays special but sometimes, they become a financial burden. Traditions don’t have to be expensive to be memorable. By making cheaper events and traditions part of your celebration, you can save money without skimping on the festivities and memories. Some of the favorite cheap activities are: touring neighborhood Christmas lights, watching a movie with hot chocolate at home, seeing Santa at the mall, making Christmas crafts, baking together, reading favorite Christmas stories, caroling, among others. The most important thing is to teach your children that traditions aren’t about what you spend, but the time you spend together.

Encourage ‘potluck’ parties
If you’re hosting an event, embrace the idea of potluck assignments. Maybe, you can offer the main dish and then let the guests know that they can help with the sides, appetizers, desserts and drinks. You can send an email ahead and let them know their assignments to avoid duplicates. You can also assign Christmas games and activities to the young attendees.

Know when to stop
Check your list twice and if you’re done, know how to stop right away. Avoid the mall and online shopping if you’re done, so you’ll not be tempted to buy more than your budget allocation.

After shopping for others, treat yourself by shopping for stocking stuffers until the last minute. That way, you can still shop within the budget. Happy shopping!


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