It’s the Christmas season once again. Christmas is a big cultural and religious event as Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is about celebrating love and joy with families, friends and loved ones. But, it has also become a huge commercial phenomenon as people spend so much money on gifts, parties and new things. Although Christmas celebrations and parties may be different this year compared to the previous years because of the new normal, it is still easy to fall prey to consumerism. To avoid starting the new year with piles of debt, here are a few tips on how to avoid overspending this holiday season.
1. Set up a Christmas budget and stick to it.
First of all, you should have created a plan even before the Christmas season even began. Plan on how much you can afford to spend on gifts, food, events, travel, decorations, clothing, etc. Once you have it, by all means stick to it. Don’t be tempted to buy a more expensive gift for your loved one just because it’s Christmas. If it is way above your budget, it simply means you cannot afford it.
2. Track your spending.
The easiest way to make sure you are spending within your budget is to track your expenses. Write down everything you are spending on a daily basis. Just record all the items you have spent and compare them to your budget. Do this on a daily basis. It will take some time and effort on your part but it will serve as a reminder to help you stay on track.
3. Be creative with your gift giving.
You don’t need to spend a fortune for your gifts. Be creative. There are so many Christmas gift ideas for less. You can give them something handmade or cook for them. It is kind of cliche but it’s the thought that counts. What is important is that you remember them during this holiday season.
4. Look for Deals.
Most stores over holidays deals this Christmas season. Buy these items because they are normally offered on discounted rates.
5. Pay cash.
Never ever use your credit card if you think you won’t be able to pay the full amount due in January. Instead, always pay cash so as to not get carried away with your purchases. Don’t be a victim of paying more than your actual purchase by paying fees and interests in your credit card.
6. Don’t overspend on yourself.
Once you are done with your Christmas shopping, go home. Don’t expose yourself to temptation by lingering in the store. The displays are there to lure you into buying them. By going home, you are preventing yourself from buying unnecessary things.
7. Entertain for less.
If you plan on hosting a Christmas party, skip those costly dinner parties by telling your guests to do potluck. Don’t put the burden of preparing for all the food yourself. And besides, until this pandemic is over; it is still not advisable to hold gatherings most especially if it is done indoors.
8. Get better deals after Christmas.
If you can postpone giving yourself or even other people a gift after Christmas, then by all means do so. Stores normally start selling items on discounts the day after Christmas because they need to clear their inventory for new ones for the coming year. By shopping after the holidays, you will get larger discounts for the items that you want.
First Published in Pinoy Smart Living on 12.04.2018