The holiday season is upon us! Once again, you’ll have to do your Christmas shopping. While a generally fun thing to do, your Christmas shopping could easily leave your finances in ruins if you do not keep it in check. This is especially true now that the inflation rate has shot up more than we’d expected. The great news is that malls are located near your DMCI condo. Transportation, after all, is one of the sectors most affected by the current inflation rate. Aside from taking advantage of nearby establishments, there are many other ways to make your holiday budget work for you. Here are some holiday shopping tips to help you out.
Set a Christmas budget
The first key step to keeping your Christmas spending in check is by setting a budget. Before you step into outlet malls, make sure you are ready with a Christmas list. Your Christmas list does not have to be detailed, as it is sometimes impossible to know beforehand what you can get for every person on your list. What’s more important is that you have a set budget for each one of them, then you can shop accordingly.
Remember that your Christmas shopping will go beyond just Christmas presents. You may also have to spend on decors and grocery items for the Noche Buena and Media Noche. Have a meeting with everyone at home, and figure out how much you will have to chip in for the holiday festivities. Many people end up with debts after the holidays are over. Avoid this pitfall by being ready for all possible expenses.
Be wary of retail tricks
Unfortunately, setting a budget is rarely ever enough. We are all surrounded by marketing tricks cleverly designed to lure us into unnecessary spending. It’s no wonder many people fall into the trap of compulsive buying. This problem often extends beyond the holidays but is definitely compounded in the midst of all the Christmas flair.
Being aware of common marketing ploys will help you avoid falling for such trickeries. Be on the lookout for things designed to get you to part with your money, such as retail credit, loyalty cards, and decoy pricing. They are especially rampant this holiday season, so be wary of them. Learn how to spend with a budget so you won’t be too vulnerable to such ploys.
Be on the lookout for deals
One other thing that’s rampant during the holiday season are deals. Use this to your advantage. Be on the lookout for every possible deal you can find. Just make sure it is a real deal and not just decoy pricing. One way to find out is by doing price comparisons. Also, make sure that you actually need what you are buying. Anything that’s on sale but you don’t need is expensive. This is where your list will come in handy. So make sure it’s all set before you start doing your Christmas shopping.
A four-year study carried out by the Wall Street Journal revealed that items actually get more expensive during the holiday season, and sales and discounts are mere marketing ploys to get you in the store and buy more than what you’d planned. This is especially rampant on Black Fridays. Keep this in mind when you do your Christmas shopping.
Limit your convenience costs
The holiday season comes with hidden costs that people are often unaware of. The season throws us out of our usual routine, and this often comes with additional costs. With the extra activities and responsibilities come convenience costs. We often hail expensive Grab rides and eat out at a nearby yet expensive restaurant while on errands. You may also find yourself ordering fast food instead of cooking food at home because of all the extra activities eating up your time. And people often indulge in treats while out shopping, such as smoothies, coffee, and pretzels. These minor expenses can add up, so make sure you keep them in check. Learn to differentiate between needs and wants. There are many things you can do without. Such treats are not worth getting into a financial mess for.
Being conscious about one’s budget often means cutting down on Christmas shopping expenses. This might mean less expensive presents for your loved ones. If this is the case for you, establish expectations early on. This is especially true if you have the tradition of granting people’s Christmas wish. If you won’t be able to do the same this year, inform them beforehand. Unmet expectations can be frustrating. But if you explain your situation, they are likely to understand and accept your decision. Christmas is the season for giving, but there is no need to go overboard with it. Remind everyone of the true spirit of Christmas: it’s about having joyous memories with your loved ones. You won’t be having this if you are ruining your finances in the process.
Learn to say no
To keep your holiday spending in check, learn to say no to spending more than you’d planned, charging Christmas gifts to your credit cards, getting a new credit card just so you could buy more presents, and taking out money from your savings. To keep things in perspective, always think long term. Do not compromise your long-term goals for a few holiday treats. There are many ways to bring joy to your family without spending beyond your means. Get creative and practical. Talk to your family and make them aware of your long-term goals and the sacrifices you are making. This way, they will be on your side. They might even be able to help you stay on track with your holiday budget. You might even be able to teach them how to shop within a budget. Learning how to handle one’s finances is one of the most important lessons everyone must acquire.
Track your holiday spending
The only way you can make sure you are staying in budget is if you track your spending on a daily basis. This is a common financial advice but holds even more weight this holiday season. You’ll be dealing with a lot of expenses that are out of the ordinary, after all. Setting your budget thoughtfully won’t matter much if you are not sticking to it. The only way you can make sure of this is if you do your due diligence. The great news is that there are several budgeting apps and software that can help you with this. Search online for the best option. And of course, you can always rely on good old pen and paper.
These budgeting tips might just be what you need to avoid financial woes this year. Make sensible decisions, and have an even better year ahead!