Money experts give the basics to surviving a holiday splurge. Read on:
1. Make a list and check it twice. “Group your recipients into family, friends, officemates, clients, and others,” says Aneth Lim, corporate affairs director at Citibank. See if you can give just one gift to a particular group.
2. Have a budget for gifts and a separate one for parties, says Jon Jefferson Kho, financial adviser at Sun Life of Canada. Get-togethers, after all, are a big part of the holidays, too.
3. Assign a peso value to each gift for a person or group or party. Kho suggests, “Set aside 10 percent of your yearly income and divide the amount by the number of people you will give gifts to.”
4. Stick to your budget. Do not go over your budget, or else your whole budget for Christmas will be ruined. Kho stresses, “If you’re a big spender, remember to set aside money first for your savings—always.”
Lim also lists three things that can help minimize holiday spending: 5. Go local. Imported goods may cost more than locally made ones. Find gifts that are locally made and, at the same time, help the economy to grow.
6. Browse the Internet for good deals. Many young start-up entrepreneurs have websites where you can order interesting goods you won’t find in malls. You may even find better prices online.
7. Ask for discounts when shopping at bargain centers. It won’t hurt to ask, and more often than not, sales people will gladly give you a discount, especially if you buy in bulk.
8. Shop all year ‘round. “I spread out my Christmas shopping throughout the year so my wallet doesn’t get shocked during the ‘ber’ months. This prevents stress and panic shopping, too. I send out food gifts during the first week of December because a lot of people receive edible treats during the season. We also just give one present to one family or we have a kiddie gift exchange so we don’t have to buy gifts for each one.” — Hanna Fernando Pacua, operations analyst; mom to Tonyo, 3
9. Avail of free gift-wrapping. “I start shopping for gifts as early as September and I take advantage of the free gift-wrapping services offered in some stores. This way, I save on money and time. I have a ‘piggy bank’ and I use the money I’ve saved to buy gifts for everyone.” — Vlelyn Ang, stay-at-home mom to Patrick
10. Buy in bulk. “I usually scout for gifts during mall-wide weekend sales way before December, and I also choose a theme to make choosing gifts easier. Last year, my theme was PJs for toddlers and preschoolers, rompers for babies, and scented soaps for officemates. I save a lot by buying in bulk and this allows me to strike a lot of names off my gift list. I pick ‘special’ gifts only for immediate family members.” — Bernz Lazo, marketing officer; mom to Deidre, 9