How to spend wisely this Christmas

by Gaby Agbulos

CHRISTMAS is coming soon, and with it is the egregious amounts of money you’re meant to spend on decorations, travel, and of course, gifts. 

This is always a time wherein your latest check will seem to disappear almost as quickly as you receive it, especially if you aren’t the most careful when it comes to figuring out how to spend your money. 

If you’re looking to save a bit of moolah this coming holiday season, here are some tips you can follow that might help you out. Remember, even a little bit goes a long way!

  1. Put a handmade touch to your gifts.

You’ve probably heard of this tip before, but there’s no better way to show someone you care about them than pouring all your time, love, and effort into creating something just for them. 

If you’re going to make a handmade gift, though, it’s best to make something that you know the receiver of the gift actually would appreciate. Don’t just make something because you scrolled past it on TikTok a few minutes ago – really think about the gifts that you’re going to be giving.

For your sentimental friends, for example, you can make them a scrapbook or a photo album filled with memories the two of you have shared. 

For your music-loving friends, you can burn a bunch of their favorite songs on a CD so that they can think of you whenever they listen to it. 

For your artsy friends, you can make them a drawing or a poem in relation to your friendship, and they’re sure to cry come gift-opening time. 

There’s nothing wrong with making your gifts instead of going out to buy, especially if you’re trying to find more ways to be sustainable as well. In giving your gifts, you can also use old / recycled gift bags to save on money as well as to be more eco-friendly.

  1. Keep your circle small.

Be honest – you probably aren’t that close with half the people you plan on giving gifts to this Christmas season.

During the holidays, it can sometimes be unavoidable to feel obligated to give certain people gifts even if you don’t want to. While some may find it selfish, the fact of the matter is that the gifts you give should come from a place of love and not just some moral imperative to give and give. 

If possible, try to make a list of your loved ones, those who you know have been with you through thick and thin. Include in this list people you talk to on a daily basis, or even people with whom you don’t talk to regularly but you know that whenever you do get together, it’s as if no time at all has passed. 

These people that you hold dear to your heart, these are the people that you should be giving gifts to. 

To hell with people who think that limiting your number of gifts is selfish! It’s your money, after all. At the end of the day, you’re the only person who gets to decide how to spend it.

  1. Look for sales / deals happening near you.

Whether it be at the nearest mall or on online shopping apps like Shopee and Lazada, there are several deals you can partake in when the holidays are near. 

Free shipping deals, buy one take one sales, all of these are things you can take advantage of to lessen your spending on gifts and decorations.

If you’re buying online, though, remember to order your items early, especially if you’re ordering from overseas. 

Usually these take a few weeks, sometimes even a month, before they arrive at your doorstep, and surely you don’t want to be the only one on Christmas explaining to their Secret Santa why they didn’t get a present. 

This is also something you can take into consideration when it comes to traveling. Apps that offer tickets to popular destinations and attractions may have holiday deals available, for example, or there may be a discount for tickets at certain airlines. 

If you’re hoping to save money, it really is all about doing your research. Though it can be a drag, it’s the most surefire way to get the most bang out of your buck.

  1. Buy in bulk.

There’s no shame in buying the same gift for different people, especially when these people just happen to have similar interests.

This is a big help if you’re buying online, especially, because instead of having to pay the shipping fee for a bunch of different stores. You can also scroll through all the items that can be found in the store to see if there’s anything anyone else on your list would like.

Another thing you can do is buy the same gift for a bunch of people – or even for everyone – but personalizing them a little so that they’re still unique to whoever you’re giving them to. You can give out journals, for example, with the names of the people you’re giving them to embossed on the front. 

Or you can buy an accessory but in different shades so that the people you’re giving them to will all still receive something different. Just be sure to make the most out of the resources that are given to you.

  1. Plan ahead.

If you really want to avoid the stresses of cost-cutting during the holidays, the smartest thing you can do is plan your list and budget out early, no matter how much of a hassle doing so may feel. 

To better organize your expenditures, one thing you can do is create a year-round fund dedicated specifically to your holiday expenses. You can put in however much you want each day, or week, or month, and then when Christmas comes around, limit your spending only to what you have put into this fund. 

This way, you’re putting in only a little bit at a time instead of spending huge amounts of money all at once when Christmas rolls in. 

If you’re planning on traveling for the holidays, it’s also a good idea to check in on ticket prices every few weeks or months to look for when the cheapest flight is going to be available. 

But since Christmas is fast approaching, just consider this for next year. Other ways you can plan ahead now is making a list of all expected expenditures for the holidays, adjusting them accordingly to what you know you can afford, and making sure that you’re not going to go over the limit that you’ve set for yourself. 

Also – remember to calm down, and not to blame yourself if you have to scrimp on some things this season. You’re no Ebenezer Scrooge, you’re just broke like the rest of the population! That’s nothing to be ashamed of.



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