Six Ways to Manage Yuletide Spending

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Be mindful in managing our finances well

 

The yuletide season is a joyful season in the Philippines. It is a season of many parties and gifts.

A survey conducted by Rakuten Insight in November 2022 reveals that half of the respondents in the Philippines stated that they intended to or had already spent less money on holiday shopping compared to 2021. The same survey reveals that the most popular items bought during the period are apparel, footwear, toys, games and consumer electronics. Given rising prices, it is timely to discuss ways to manage expenses.

One way to manage yuletide spending is to develop yuletide lists. These lists help us take stock of our various social relationships. One list is for the anticipated parties and celebrations in December. Having this list will allow us to prioritize and ensure presence in the important occasions. Another list is for gift distribution. Gifts are usually given to loved ones like family members, relatives, friends and colleagues. These lists have to be developed early so that we have more than enough time to plan and prepare.

One way to manage yuletide spending is to develop a budget. Once the yuletide lists have been finalized, the corresponding budget must be determined. Having a budget makes spending more strategic and efficient. Yuletide spending must not exceed income in order to avoid the debt burden. Use of the popular envelope budgeting system can be applied where there will be separate budget envelopes for parties and gifts. It is important to stick to the lists and budgets. Financial discipline must happen for budgets to work.

One way to manage yuletide spending is to do purchases early. When we have the luxury of time, we will be able to scout for the best deals in terms of product, price, place and promotions. When we have the luxury of time, we will be in a better negotiating position. Time allows us to save on cost especially if the items are purchased during non-peak periods. The problems with last-minute shopping are the risks that the items we need are insufficient in supply and that prices may be way beyond what we budgeted for.

One way to manage yuletide spending is to explore alternative gifts. It is really the thought that counts in gifts. A relevant gift may be appreciated more by a recipient than an expensive gift. We can put our creative juices into play. A do-it-yourself gift can be a good alternative to traditional gifts that are found in malls and other shopping centers in terms of cost and impact. The time and effort we invest in the creation of the do-it-yourself gift are the intangibles that can make the gift even more unique and special.

One way to manage yuletide spending is to explore the use of reputable online platforms for parties and gifts. In the case of parties, apart from beating the expected December heavy traffic, reputable online platforms allow the participation of family members and friends who are not that proximate to us in terms of location. In the case of gifts, reputable online platforms can potentially save on costs like transportation expenses. Many online platforms provide discounts and deals for purchases which yield good savings.

One way to manage yuletide spending is to monitor actual spending. We need to be on top of our finances and be organized. A budget is only as good as its execution. Actual spending has to be systematically and regularly tracked against the budget. Doing this allows us to know where we are. Doing this allows us to make the necessary spending adjustments. The good news is that there are many platforms that can be used to assess spending levels. These include simple notebooks, spreadsheets and mobile applications.

As the year draws to a close, we take time to reconnect with our families and friends. However, even during festive seasons, we must be mindful in managing our finances well. It is okay to have fun so long as we exercise financial prudence. May the Lord grant us more financial blessings in the coming year.

Gemmy Lontoc is a Registered Financial Planner of RFP Philippines.

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