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REDISCOVER (How to) have a sensible holiday spending season

Article – Have a sensible holiday spending season
By Lynda C. Corpuz
First Posted 13:54:00 12/19/2008
From content sharing of and MoneySense

(N.B. My name/byline was inadvertently omited, as posted in the personal finance section of This story is originally included in the November-December 2008 issue of MoneySense.)

MANILA, Philippines — Nurse Cristina Rotor, 27, spent about P8,000 buying holiday gifts for her godchildren, friends, parents, and boyfriend (plus his parents and brother) last year. Call center agent, Russell Macahilas, 31, bought some major appliances that included a 32-inch television, component, and refrigerator. Together with gifts she gave her family, Russell spent close to P100,000 last year for Christmas.

Though they spent heavily again this year, Cristina and Russell say this time, their expenses were planned.

How about you? Have you already set aside a budget for this Yuletide season? Or are you guilty of falling for the usual holiday spending mistakes?

Mistake 1: You get “blind’ during the holidays. With the 13th, 14th, and whatever bonuses you receive during the end of the year, it’s easy to get carried away in the season of giving. You fall under the misconception that the more you spend, the more you make your family and friends happy. In fact, most often, your gifts are stored and forgotten until the next general housecleaning.

Holiday check: Draw a holiday budget. If Santa Claus keeps a list of what to give to those who have been nice all year round, all the more should you. Having such list will help you keep track of what you should buy, instead of indulging in impulse buying when you’re already in the mall, a holiday bazaar or “tiangge,” or at the 168 Mall in Divisoria.

Mistake 2: You’re having a “gift guilt.” After making homemade chocolate chip cookies as your Christmas presents, you suddenly get an angst attack and decide they are not suitable to give away at all. Or you decide to upgrade your Mom’s gift to something more expensive. Or your grumpy boss or an office enemy gives an unexpected present, and you feel obliged to reciprocate. Such situations, among others, could put you on the spot and lead you to spend more than what you originally budgeted.

Holiday check: Be guilt free. More than anything else, it’s the thought that counts, and not the gift, simple or expensive. With the global financial crunch, many will be in a savings mode, and would probably not to expect costly gifts from you.

Mistake 3: You procrastinate. With mall-wide sales all year round, you’ve probably bought in advance some of your Christmas giveaways. But they’re still in the box waiting to be wrapped, tied and given away.

Holiday check: Shop early, wrap fast, and send those gifts on time. Shopping during the Christmas rush results in more expensive (often overpriced) gift items. Plus there is the inconvenience of having to hustle with a throng of similar late holiday-shoppers. If you have to ship out those gifts, either to the provinces or abroad, take advantage of cheaper shipping rates during the early months.

Cristina and Russell, in the meantime, confess that they won’t be spending as much as what they did last year.

For Cristina, most of her Christmas gifts had been bought way in advance of the Yuletide season. “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. Instead, this year, she’ll be buying clothes and accessories for herself.

Russell, on the other hand, has no intention to spend on expensive things this year. “I’m now saving for some travel options,” she says.

(This article is from MoneySense, the country’s first and only personal finance magazine. Visit for more.)


Written by Lynda C. Corpuz

December 27, 2008 at 12:04 am

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