Sep 18, 2012

Your Christmas Budget

How much should you spend this Christmas? Or have you thought about it? If you haven't experienced any problem with money before, then this article may not appeal to you. But for those who have, it is highly recommended to create a budget as early as now. Some people can really get overwhelmed with the Christmas hype and spirit that they don't realize they are spending way too much than they should be. If you say that since it is Christmas, it is alright to overspend, think again. Would you really want to be broke come New Year's time?
Food Christmas Party

Here is a sample list of expense items that Filipinos normally buy during Christmas time.

  1. Gifts - Create your own list as early as now. Include in your list your kids' friends, teachers, Monito/Monita and your husband's list. The earlier the better. Shop early for nonperishable items, the price of commodities at Christmastime may be 10 to 15% higher than in other times of the year. It's just my estimate.
  2. Food for Noche Buena - You may not have a menu yet in mind but if you have been preparing the same Lechon for as long as you can remember, then it is helpful that you make a list now. Do you have a budget for a lavish Noche Buena? If you don't, think of other ways now on how you can trim your budget.
  3. Decors - Is it wise to discard your last year's decors and Christmas Tree? Think many times. A whole new theme can really eat up a huge chunk of your Christmas budget. Why not try to be creative this time. Search for ideas that does not require you to purchase new decors. Re-invent your decors. Get an old fish bowl and put Christmas balls in them. Or create your own glittery balls by crumpling old newspapers and magazines into balls, then sprinkle glitters on them. It takes creativity and some effort, but it saves you some money.
  4. Greeting Cards - Yes some people still do send Christmas Cards to their relatives and friends. Buy cards in bulk. There are nice ones at UNICEF. Be sure to send them early so they can arrive at the destination before Christmas.
  5. Fireworks - Are they really necessary? 
  6. Others - Set aside some amount for contributions for food, T-shirts, etc. at your office. There are little things we shell out here and there but no matter how small the amounts are, they do pile up and before we realize, we have already spend a few thousands. It is important to be prepared.
Filipinos may be one of the most confident consumers in the world. While this is not bad at an economics and public policy point of view, in the long run we need to start learning that there are better ways to manage our finances. Happy Christmas budgeting!

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