7 Money Tips to Remember During the Christmas Season

It’s almost Christmas. Are you counting the days already? Surely you do, especially if you’re coming home for the holidays. Aside from the balikbayan boxes filled with tons of pasalubong for your loved ones, there are tons of reunions and parties you have to attend to because hey, people missed you. Plus, this is a perfect opportunity to go shopping. You feel that goods are cheaper here in the Philippines and you wouldn’t even notice since you are earning in dollars.

Indeed, going home this Christmas season is a grand celebration. Sadly, it’s an expensive one. Worse, you will realize how much you’ve lost once you head back to the country where you are working.

Does it really have to be that way? Of course not. Yes, you missed your family but there are certain things you need to remember to ensure that you won’t compromise your financial future just for the sake of having Pasko sa Pilipinas. This includes:

1. Set a Christmas budget before going back home. 

This is the first thing you need to do before you head home. Having a budget is necessary to guide you on your spending and avoid unnecessary expenses. You need to set a limit on your spending because you might be surprised to find out that there’s no job waiting for you.

What you can do is to allocate money for Christmas shopping, dining out, presents, etc. Set aside a portion for last-minute emergencies because you’ll never know what could happen while you’re back home.

2. Buy presents that increase in value. 

Sure, your kids will appreciate a new iPad or gaming console, but is it worth spending? The problem with giving material things is that they don’t appreciate in value. By the following year, a new model will be released, which improves the older version. Selling it won’t help because by the time you decide to sell the gadget, the value is way lower than what you hoped for.

What can you do? Give your family something that they will like and something to open this Christmas BUT make sure it is affordable. Also, use your money to buy your kids’ educational fund or invest in stocks or mutual funds. This allows your money to grow more instead of spending it on something that doesn’t appreciate in value.

Surely your family may not appreciate it now, but they sure will once they get older.

3. Limit your gift-giving. 

You’re not running for public office, so don’t feel pressured to give everyone something. Yes, it’s the season if giving, but do you have to share everything you have to the entire barangay? 

The answer is no – and it’s okay.

The point is limit your gift-giving to immediate family members and people who truly matters to you. This will help you save more money.

4. Once Christmas celebration is enough. 

So your former colleagues at work found out that you’re in the Philippines and they wanted to ask you out. Your college buddies also wanted to see you and asked you to meet them for dinner and drinks after. Your family wants to eat out.

The question now is do you really need to say yes to all the invites just so people will see you? The answer is no.

One of the ways to cut your spending while you’re home for the holidays is by scheduling just ONE (read: ONE) Christmas party. Schedule a party, preferably weekend, and invite people to come over. You can spend on food, but don’t hesitate to ask people to bring some of their specialties over. This way, you get to meet everyone while minimizing your spending.

5. Do not boast. 

One of the common misconceptions surrounding OFWs is that they are rich and money comes easy. Some do experience a leap, but there are still many others who are doing what they can to make ends meet. Yet, there are OFWs who act like they are living a life by showing off material things they own.

Don’t be one of them. Show the people that you are living a simple lifestyle instead of trying to make yourself look “bigtime.” You don’t need people to see that you have a new phone and your kids have up-to-date gadgets. People will less likely borrow money from you if they see that you are living a frugal life.

6. You’re not an ATM. 

It is part of Filipino culture to give something. Since you’re back home, this could be an opportunity for people to ask if they could borrow money from you.

No matter how close you are, the answer is no. You’re not an ATM machine and you have your own needs too. Don’t give in to their demands because you shouldn’t be the one they’re running to in case they are having financial issue. Learn how to say no and be firm about it.

7. Update and manage your accounts. 

Now that you’re back home, take this opportunity to check and manage your accounts. See how much money you have and don’t forget to enroll in an online facility so you can easily see and be updated with your account. If you plan to get an investment account or insurance policy, then use this opportunity as well.

It’s more complicated if you ask someone to do this on your behalf (through SPA, of course), so make sure you make the most out of your stay.

Are you ready to go back home?

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