Christmas Holiday Saving Tips 2011: Money Can’t Buy Everything

The holiday season is that time of year when all of us seem to be spending more than we can afford. Most of the time, we don’t consciously analyze if we are spending too much or if we are still within our budget when we spend. We just go right ahead and buy gifts, plan activities, buy Christmas decorations and with it spend, spend and spend.

We rationalize this behavior thinking that money should not be too much of a consideration during the holidays. We convince ourselves that this money is well-spent because it’s used to make people happy. But as with most things in life, we should set a limit because we don’t have infinite resources.

You can have control of your spending habits during the holidays. Here are some of the ways you can save more and spend less this coming holiday season.

  1. Plan vacations ahead. Flights and tour packages can be bought for less if you buy them far ahead of schedule. So planning ahead will go a long way to save money on vacations that you want to take during the holidays.
  2. Have a limited gift list. Not having a list of people to give gifts to can sometimes cause us to forget a few people who should have been in there in the first place. So we end up buying a gift very late and that can cause us to spend more.
  3. Set a price limit per gift. Price limit is a basic concept. You don’t have all the money. You should have a budget of what you can afford given the number of people you want to give gifts to.
  4. Do not buy to the last minute. If you wait until the last minute to do your shopping for your gifts, food, decorations, etc., you’ll get the highest price imaginable because everyone else would be trying to buy the same thing you need.
  5. Create gifts rather than buy. A gift shouldn't always have to be something you bought. In fact, it could be better appreciated if it was something you created. This will cost you less if you are creative enough.
  6. Avoid credit cards. Credit cards are only useful if you earn points from using them. You should not use it to be in debt later on and pay interests you can’t afford. Use cash not card.
  7. Buy in bulk. If there’s a group of people, like co-workers or friends or classmates, who you can give similar gifts to, you might as well buy in bulk so that you will get a better deal for the items that you need.
  8. Make use of social media. Instead of sending cards to all of your friends which can be expensive, you may send your greetings through the internet. They would surely be in Facebook or Twitter. They would definitely have an email address and you can send them your thoughts electronically. You can even send them an electronic card if you wish.
  9. Buy from flea markets. We, Filipinos, love malls. But if you’re looking for ways to save money from shopping you ought to try Divisoria, Greenhills or Baclaran. It would not be as convenient but they would definitely be cheaper with the same quality as the ones you’ll find in malls.
  10. Take advantage of holiday sales. Anticipating a surge during the holidays, most stores will want to attract customers by having discount sales near the holiday season. You should definitely take these opportunities to save on your expenditure.
If you’re a Christian, then you know the holidays is not about who spends the most money. It’s not about showing off your ability to give expensive gifts or go to expensive places. It’s more about showing your love and affection to the people you care about. Spending time with them and expressing how much you value them are more important.