How to Manage Your Holiday Spending
By Therese Aseoche
Christmas season, bonuses, and extra pay… how could we not want to splurge this December?
We fall victim to this kind of mindset year after year thinking that we have enough money to be a little bit more generous with our gifts to others and to ourselves. But it’s exactly at this time when we have to be much wiser with our expenses so that they don’t leave a permanent mark in our bank accounts.
Here are some tips to keep in mind in order to effectively manage your holiday spending!
Estimate your expenses for the month
The first step to managing your holiday expenses is to set a budget for everything — food, Ubers, bills, medicines, shopping, etc. — according to how much you actually spend on recurring expenses, what you already know you’ll be spending on for the month, how much you earn or expect to earn for the month, and your current savings. Discipline yourself to stick to your limits!
Make buying gifts your last priority
You wouldn’t want to overspend on gifts and realize you have nothing left for your bills and recurring expenses, would you? Once you’ve already set aside money for necessities and sudden urgent expenses, that’s when you can start budgeting for Christmas gifts.
Be selective on whom to give gifts to
You shouldn’t force yourself to give gifts to everyone you know! Once you’ve determined how much you’re really willing to spend on gift giving, double check your list of recipients and don’t feel bad about removing the names of neighbors you’ve hardly interacted with, people you used to work with, or friends you’re not that close to.
Keep a record of all your expenses
Keep all your receipts! Record your expenses for the day every night before going to bed so you can keep track of how much you’ve already spent and whether or not you’re close to hitting your limit. You can also bring around a small notebook to record your expenses while you’re on the go, and then encode them in an Excel sheet or your favorite Budgeting App!
Doing this also helps you view your overall holiday spending at the end of the month, which can therefore influence next year’s holiday budgeting.
Fact: you’ll definitely save on money by shopping online.
You don’t have to spend on transportation going to malls and shopping districts, or pay a bit more for sales tax. Plus, you can find brand new items being sold at much cheaper prices at online marketplaces like Shopee and Carousell, and even benefit from discounts and free shipping!
There’s no shame in giving birthday and Christmas gifts you’ve received but have never opened or used. Just as long as the person you’re giving it to doesn’t know the person who gave you that gift in the first place, you’ll definitely save on gift giving expenses.
Save on wrappers and cards
Newspapers or old paper bags and eco bags can serve as cheaper alternatives to Christmas wrappers. Make handwritten notecards too instead of bulk buying greeting cards. These will make your gifts more personalized!
Make homemade gifts
Of course, the best alternative to buying gifts is to just make them yourself. Bake a batch of cookies, for example, or make personalized Spotify playlists. These will really help you save money as opposed to buying different things for different people. Besides, it’s the thought that counts!
What are your own tips in managing holiday spending? Share them with us below!