Christmas on Budget: How to Save Cash during the Holidays

Money Saving Tips for the HolidaysIt’s Christmas in less than two months. You’ve been hearing a lot of Christmas songs being played on the malls, radio, or wherever a speaker is available. And for sure, you’re thinking of starting to put up the Christmas tree and bring out Santa and Rudolph just to bring the Christmas spirit in your home. While you and especially the kids are excited for the Holidays, well, your wallet and bank account are not.

Apparently, Christmas season is a time where you can make an excuse and say, “hey, I need that shirt for Christmas. It will look good on pictures.”  Or “my kids need that” or “I deserve this since I’ve been good the whole year.” Okay fine, mommies. For sure, ubusan nanaman ng Christmas bonus at 13th month pay ito. 

But come to think of it. Just because it is Christmas season and giving gifts is something you can’t avoid, does this mean you should drain your bank account too? Does the Holiday season equate to credit card bills at the end of the month – and you have no idea how to pay for it? Of course not!

Budget and Christmas may not seem like a good combination but it is possible. Here are my tips on how to spend Christmas on a budget and avoid a financial hangover at the start of January.

1. Set a budget. Just because it’s Christmas season, it doesn’t mean you should overspend. Most Pinoys are like that kaya pagdating ng January, hindi na alam paano ang bayaran. Be better than them mommies. Set a budget and a spending limit on the things you need to do and buy, including gifts, vacation with the family, new items, etc. This way. you’ll be able to determine which areas you can save on and at the same time, keep track on your spending.

In this case, making a list is important. I start making my list by the end of October and jot down what gifts to give on each person. I also allot a budget for each person and try my best to stick to that spending limit.    

2. Use cash to pay for your purchases. Most people treat credit card as an extension of their cash. WRONG. It’s the bank’s easiest way of lending you money and charge you with interest in case you didn’t pay on time. I understand that companies give bonuses on December while some give as early as November so you can’t start your Christmas shopping early. Well, if you can wait, then wait. If not, you have to make sure that you’ll pay the amount in FULL come billing time. You don’t want to start your New Year in debt, right?

3. When giving gifts, don’t hesitate to join forces with someone. Even if I’m married, I still share with my sisters every time we give something to our parents. First, it’s cheaper if we share gifts and second, mahal regaluhan ang parents. Lol! I also share gifts with my husband since we’re a team now, diba. 

So instead of giving gifts individually, why not ask someone you are close to if you can just share. It may be that much but when you total the amount, you’ll realize that it helped you save a significant amount of cash. Just make sure you divide the expenses equally.

4. Make or bake. Giving gifts to someone is easier if you just buy it from the store, wrap it in a nice gift wrapper and give it to the person. However, it’s going to cost you a lot when you add up everything you spent. Since I’m not an artistic person and making personalized items is way out of my league, I just bake. In one recipe, I can make 24 red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting – and that’s good enough for three to four people. I also make banana bread or banana cupcakes, which can be given to two to three people. Plus, it’s going to cost me P300 to P400 pesos only.

Well, I just trust my baking skills so much, plus it’s the thought that counts, right? Hehehe.

5. Don’t be afraid to recycle. I feel guilty giving gifts away. On the other hand, sayang naman if the toys or whatever stuff will get stuck inside the cabinet. Instead of letting those unused items take up space and dust, what I do is that I recycle gifts. Not everything but at least those decent-looking, worth-giving unused gifts given by some people from last year.

6. Take advantage of bazaars. No, it’s not about being kuripot. But there are items sold in bazaars which you can’t see in the mall but are good enough to work as gifts. Or these items may be in the malls but sold at a cheaper price. I buy some of my Christmas gifts from bazaars but they don’t look cheap. I mean, it’s decent, useful and something which the receiver will appreciate. Again, it’s the thought that counts, right? Just make sure to check the quality of the item before paying for anything.

7. Practice self-control. It’s so easy to fall into temptation and buy things you don’t really need but they’re just so cute, you can’t resist it. Trust me mommies, I’ve been there too and it’s really hard. Still, don’t let “emotions” get in the way and remember to simply stick to your list and budget. The sacrifices will pay off eventually and at the end of the day, you don’t have to worry about drained savings and screaming credit card bills.

More importantly, don’t forget to track down your expenses. Keep receipts, or at least make a list of what and how much you’ve spent on this and that. Review that list and make necessary adjustments in case you’re overspending. Again, you don’t want to start 2015 (and the years to come) in debt, right?

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28 Comments

  1. rrvendil

    November 3, 2014 at 6:07 am

    This practical tips are very timely and really helpful especially to people who are on a budget. I love the make or bake tip! Not only that it is more practical but basically, the gift becomes even more special because of the time and effort that was put into it. Thanks for sharing!

    1. momhandsarefull

      November 3, 2014 at 6:44 am

      Hello there!

      Thanks so much and I’m glad you found the tips timely and useful 🙂

  2. Kim Reyes

    November 3, 2014 at 6:48 am

    Our Christmas gifts this year will be made by the kids. Aside from being friendly to the wallet, home-made gifts have more of a “made-just-for-you” feel.

    1. aggietha

      November 4, 2014 at 12:24 am

      Great idea! Share what they are making ha!

    2. momhandsarefull

      November 4, 2014 at 2:49 am

      I wish we can do this too when my kids grow up 🙂

  3. Audric's Mom

    November 3, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    I totally agree with everything you’ve mentioned above. Actually, parang tinamaan pa nga ako sa “Just because it’s Christmas season, it doesn’t mean you should overspend. Most Pinoys are like that kaya pagdating ng January, hindi na alam paano ang bayaran.”. Hahahaha!

    1. momhandsarefull

      November 3, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      No pun intended there mommy! But I really think we should be reminded of our spending especially this Christmas season. Tayo din naman mahihirapan in the end diba? 🙂

  4. Maan

    November 3, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Agree agree agree! I’m actually beginning to save up by taking up parts of my October and November sweldo. I agree that one should pay for Christmas expenses using cash alone, never utang. The worst thing to do is to meet the new year worrying about how to pay them!

    1. momhandsarefull

      November 4, 2014 at 2:50 am

      Dibaaa? I used to pay using my credit card when I was still single. I had a mentality na may darating naman na sweldo after 15 days so I didn’t really care – which is wrong. Good thing I learned my lesson now 🙂

  5. Cheanne

    November 3, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Very helpful tips, mommy! Since August, I’ve been thinking of making something to give as Christmas presents. Sadly, November na, no idea pa din what to make. Maybe I should try your red velvet cupcakes although I have zero experience in baking.

    1. momhandsarefull

      November 4, 2014 at 2:51 am

      Thanks! 🙂

      Of course you can try baking 🙂 I have no formal training in baking and I just do it for fun lang. You’re gonna get better din eventually 🙂

  6. Gigi Beleno

    November 3, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    These are all good and practical tips which I agree with. Its really important that first and foremost we should set a budget so as not to overspent and deal with headaches later.

  7. Michelle Solee (@michisolee)

    November 3, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    I agree with your tips and I’m really practicing it. I always set my budget for gifts and I also do homemade gifts if I have time. I love bazaars. 🙂

    1. momhandsarefull

      November 4, 2014 at 11:46 am

      Bazaars are a good place to shop din naman. We just have to check on the quality para hindi naman sayang ang binayad 🙂

  8. Que Sullano - Gavan

    November 3, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Agree on these tips! We should practice them year round and not just for the holidays!

    1. momhandsarefull

      November 4, 2014 at 11:46 am

      I agree mommy! Para debt-free narin 🙂

  9. aggietha

    November 4, 2014 at 12:23 am

    Oh yes! Very practical tips. I also love what the other bloggers suggested. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. momhandsarefull

      November 4, 2014 at 11:48 am

      No problem. I’m glad you found the tips useful 🙂

  10. Celerhina Aubrey

    November 4, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Super agree sa “use cash”. Ilang pasko na kong pulubi come January because I maxed out my credit card during the holidays. Hahahahaha! And I also join forces with my sister on giving gifts to our parents. Coz you’re right! Mahal regaluhan ang parents. Nakakaloka lang. 🙂

    1. momhandsarefull

      November 4, 2014 at 8:04 am

      Good to know you agree on these tips mommy! 🙂 At least now, it’s time for us to start over when it comes to handling our “Christmas finances.” 🙂

  11. Anna “Mommy Anna” Plaida

    November 4, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Thanks for sharing your tips 🙂 I usually overspend the budget when I become a mom feeling ko lahat okay sa son ko

    1. momhandsarefull

      November 4, 2014 at 11:48 am

      Same here Mommy. It’s a good thing my husband reminds me to calm down since I usually get excited buying things for my girls 🙂

  12. Liz A

    November 8, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    great tips, Mommy 😀 I myself would recommend bazaars and take advantage of mall sale to save up on a few bucks 🙂

  13. Paulline @ milastolemyheart

    November 9, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    This year, August palang, we already set our family and friends’ expectations that there might not be gifts from us because of a big investment we will be doing by the end of the year. They understand of course. But it’s different for kids and inaanaks. So to save money, I’ll celebrate my 30th on Dec 26 with a simple children’s party. Kids will love it, that’ll be our gift to them, plus I get to mark my day with something special. Dual purpose. 🙂

  14. Vicky Thompson

    November 13, 2014 at 2:50 am

    I love numbers 4 and 5! 😀 Love making gifts and seeing that they appreciate it because you really thought about them when you were making the gift! Thanks for these tips 🙂

  15. tweenselmom

    November 14, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Thanks for the tips, so timely, hirap mag budget these days!

  16. Neri Ann

    November 17, 2014 at 4:53 am

    I always do number 4! Especially sa mga ka officemates ko, I will make bracelets out of yarns or crochet cellphone case. Pati mga crochet beanie for my pamangkins. You will never thought na mailalabas mu ang creativity mu especially kapag mom ka na. He He He.

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