Don’t Break The Bank This Christmas

♫ It’s the most wonderful expensive time of the year ♫ — and it’s almost upon us. Yes, it’s September, and it’s practically Christmas here in the Philippines. You’ve probably seen the holiday decor for sale or heard the carols on the radio. But if you’re budget-conscious, you might already be worrying about covering the cost of Christmas.

December happens every year. Don’t let it sneak up on you. Prepare for the holidays with our tips on how to have a holly, jolly Christmas without breaking the bank.

Saving for Christmas

  1. Make your Christmas budget and gift list. Don’t start off the new year with holiday debt. As early as now, decide how much money you can afford to spend on gifts — and stick to it. Review how much you spent last year, and make an estimate of how much you’re going to spend this year based on that. Analyze your expenses and budgets to see how much you can afford to spend for Christmas. Make a list of everyone you need to buy for and how much you can spend on each. Track your purchases so you don’t overspend. You can use Dave Ramsey’s Christmas budgeting tool to help.

  2. Set aside money throughout the year. It’s easier to save a little bit throughout the year than cobble together a lot of money in a few weeks for presents. Create a savings account just for Christmas expenses, and make deposits throughout the year. By the time December rolls around, you won’t stress about being able to afford the holidays.

  3. Streamline your gift list. If you’re expected to give presents to a horde of nieces, nephews, and inaanaks, you can have an agreement among all the adults that you’ll only be buying presents for children this year. Especially in big families, where the costs of presents can add up, you need to make decisions on who you’re going to buy presents for, and put limits on gifts. At work, have a Secret Santa so nobody is expected to buy presents for everyone at the office. And as always, stick to your budget.

  4. Spread out your spending. Did you find the perfect Christmas gift for your mom in July? Buy it now and save it for December. You can spread your spending throughout 12 months and avoid draining your funds in one. Many stores and online retailers hold sales throughout the year; take advantage of these in preparation for Christmas. This way, you won’t be battling others in the shopping rush of the holidays. You get more time to spend with your loved ones instead of waiting in line at the mall with all the other holiday shoppers.

  5. Get creative. If you’re strapped for cash for the holidays, you can still give your loved ones great gifts without having to spend too much. You can give out tasty baked treats as presents, if you love baking. Offer to run errands for your friends busy with holiday preparations, or babysit for a couple so they can enjoy a romantic night out. Get creative gift ideas from Pinterest. Think about the skills you have, and how you can use them to make gifts for others. Remember, the holiday isn’t about how expensive your gifts are; it’s about spending time with your family and friends.

Need to open a savings account for the holidays? Find the best one for you with our handy comparison tool.

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