Holiday Shopping Tips

Red shouldn’t be the financial color this Christmas season. These tips should help keep you in the black till the new year.

1. Pay Cash. Not only that, pay in big denominations. It makes you think twice when you go to buy something with a PHP1,000 bill. There are a lot of cash cards in the market. Load them and stick to the limit. Once you’re out of money, you’re out of money.

2. Read the fine print. Do you know how much your credit card charges as penalties if you either pay late or don’t pay off the full balance? Does your credit card company have a two-cycle billing policy?

3. Keep a running total of your non-cash expenditures. You’d be amazed at how much money you can burn in just one day in the mall. At the end of each shopping expedition, just tally your credit card receipts to see if you can still splurge on another pair of Zara jeans without going over your credit limit.

4. Have a plan. Ok, so you fell off the wagon. If you overspent your budget this Christmas season, come up with a REALISTIC repayment plan. Try to go back to a zero balance by the end of the first quarter. You don’t want to have this debt cloud hanging over your head for too long.

5. Get easy gifts out of the way. Put aside the money to pay the 13th month bonus of your household angels. Try to get this out early so that they don’t form part of your December shopping budget.

6. Make a list. Check it twice. Trim it down if you have to. If you can, match each item with the store you’ll visit so you can get your shopping down efficiently (with minimal temptations). Your feet and your wallet will thank you.

7. Think outside the gift box. In a previous post I mentioned more often than not, it is the small activities we do with our families which mean the most, not the expensive trinkets. Build memories, not possessions.

8. Gift yourself with financial freedom. Take the time to go to the bank, not just to withdraw money, but also to look at financial products which you can use to jumpstart the savings habit AND/OR lighten the spending. Open an savings (for a rainy day) account to which you can autotransfer funds come payday. Once the balance reaches a sizeable amount, you can then transfer to higher yielding investment instruments.

9. Keep the change. Don’t knock the value of the peso. I’ve been keeping all of our change in a Winnie-the-Pooh piggy bank for Andre. Last year, I deposited over P3K in coins in his savings account. For the singletons, that translates into 6 gift packs from Body Shop. =)

10. Shop on a full stomach. The worst shopping decisions I’ve made were done either on a panic spree (gotta get a dress for a wedding) or on an empty stomach. Everything looks so much nicer when you’re running on fumes.

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2 Responses

  1. Great site good stuff! Keep up to good work!

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