How to Have a Jolly, Holiday Spending

By Lynda C. Corpuz

Nurse Cristina Rotor, 27, spent about P8,000 buying holiday gifts for her grandchildren, friends, parents, and boyfriend (plus his parents and brother). Call center agent, Russell Macahilas, 31, meanwhile, spent on an appliance showcase of 32” TV, component, and refrigerator. The price: about P50,000 to P100,000 – all spent for her Christmas last year.

Cristina and Russell say that though they spent that much for 2007 holidays, it was a planned spending for them. How about you? Have you already set aside a budget for this Yuletide season? Or are you guilty of the following holiday spending mistakes?

Holiday hangover: You get “blind’ during the holidays. With the 13th, 14th, and whatever bonuses you receive during the end of the year, you somehow get lost with how much money you’re receiving. That financial blindness you’re having can be attributed to the misconception of the more you spend, the more you make people happy (by giving them gifts they probably don’t like in the first place).

Holiday check:
Draw a holiday budget. Even Santa Claus keeps a list of what to give to those who are nice all year round (all right, Santa Claus may not true, but his gift-giving list is). Having such list will help you track of what you should buy (and for how many) versus what you would actually spend when you hit the mall, check a holiday bazaar, or brave your way to 168 in Divisoria.

Holiday hangover:
You’re having “holiday guilt.” You just thought your homemade chocolate chip cookies suck and not suitable as giveaway or you think you should give a more expensive gift to your Mom because you’re closer to her than to your Dad, or you got an unexpected present from your grumpy boss or an office enemy. Such situations, among others, could put you on the spot and lead you to overspend, as you don’t want to deal with such holiday guilt.

Holiday check: Be guilt free. It’s always said that it’s the thought that counts, but at times, we overspend so as to please everybody this holiday season. But think of the global financial crunch, surely those you love (and are wishing to receive gifts from you) are also in the savings mode, and would probably not to expect much this so-called difficult time.

Holiday hangover: You procrastinate. True, there are mall-wide sales all year round, and you probably bought in advanced some of your Christmas giveaways from these, but you’ve been putting off sending those gifts, say, to your relatives in the province or in abroad.

Holiday check: Shop early, wrap fast, and send those gifts on time. The more you shop late, the more you have to content with overpriced items and deal with the throng of late holiday-shoppers like you. Also, send those gifts to faraway recipients before the Yuletide rush, or end up paying more for the shipping cost. While this country follows holiday economics (where public holidays are moved to the nearest weekend), Christmas is that one holiday that’s fixed here, so that should keep you in track to spread the holiday cheer on time.

As for Cristina and Russell, they will not have to deal with such holiday blunders, for they are keen not to spend that much, compared to what they spent last year.

For Cristina, she’s not sure if she’s going to spend that much again this season. “Because whenever I hit the mall and I see something that I know is ‘perfect’ for a particular person, I buy it right away, and that serves as my holiday gift,” she shares. But she’s sure she would still spend on toys, clothes, bags (for her), among other things.

For Russell, she says she will not spend that much anymore, or get anything that is too expensive. “I’m now saving for some travel options,” she ends.

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