By Sapphire Girod
Brand Experience Officer, Reputation Management
Unit Trust Corporation
Resist the urge to splurge
It’s that time of the year again. Yes, the Christmas season has come calling! We hear the sweet parang, and out comes the decorations, the malls are decorated and commercials are all so inviting. The pressure to spend can be overwhelming, so how can you resist the urge to splurge?
DO Set a Budget – Less Liming
As clichéd as it may sound, setting a budget helps you curb your spending. Budgeting for
Christmas should be very specific: gift, food and drink, decorations, liming, travel and even
cleaning materials. The rest of your household budget should also be included to help you
manage the overall spend during the next few months.
DO Make a List – Defuse stress
Sticking to a list can make all the difference. Have a list prepared for gift giving, who and what
you’re buying for and how much money you’re spending on each person. You should also list
your entertainment necessities, the amount of food and drinks you’ll need, and how much you
can spend on each item. Do the same for decorations and household items; would you be
spending on new lights or utilizing the old ones?
DO Discuss Expectations
After creating your budget, it would be wise to discuss the limitations you have set for yourself
with your close friends and families. Agree on a spending limit and who will be receiving gifts
this year; it may be presents for the kids only rather than adults. Whatever you decide,
discussing expectations will fend off any disappointments and help you manage your finances.
DO Shop Early – Resist the splurge urge
Last minute shopping can end up being all impulse buying. You have set your budget and made
your list, so now you know what you need to buy. Shopping early helps you to avoid the rush and push of the crowd and allows you to spread the cost over the few weeks. Buying in advance
is also a great way to take advantage of specials by comparing prices for the best deals. You may even opt for online shopping to ensure your items arrive just in time for the season. It is also a good idea to set a limit on your shopping time, this strategy helps to keep you on track, with no extra time for picking up useless items.
DON’T Be Like the Joneses – stay out of debt
The Joneses are broke. Like everyone else, they have all their bills to pay, their loans and are still expected to entertain their guests during the season. Although they look good doing it, avoid
tying to be like the Joneses. You don’t want to end up struggling to pay unnecessary debt just to
impress friends and family. As long as you have prepared a set budget, stick to it and spend only what you can afford to.
DON’T Overthink – don’t be ambushed
The spirit of giving can really put a pressure on your pocket especially when you do not want to
disappoint family and friends. Avoid overthinking. Stick to your plan. Let everyone know of the
sacrifices you have made to ensure they have a happy Christmas. Don’t let friends or family
members ambush your decision to stay out of the red.
DON’T Take Credit Cards
If you know you would be tempted to splurge when you shop, then leave those credit cards at
home. Don’t have the attitude that you’ll pay off those cards in January because Carnival will be
around the corner faster than you know it. Although this might be the hardest thing to do now,
next year you would be grateful and proud of yourself for staying out of debt.
DON’T do it all
Pasteles, ham, fruit cake, ponche de crème – and don’t forget the alcohol, sorrel and ginger
beer. As much as you would like to prepare it all, why not suggest to your friends and family that
they contribute to the dishes and drinks. Instead of cooking a lavish meal that may put you into
expense, dividing the cost, time and resources will also lend to a more enjoyable Christmas. Go
Dutch, tell everyone to bring something.
Get creative …. recycle
This year consider giving homemade gifts. Consider preparing personalized gift vouchers for a
spa treatment, dinner or even a movie. Think outside the box and look for creative ways to
make new experiences.
Recycling? With the world going green, recycling is always a practical idea during the holidays.
You can reuse old wrapping paper to cover biscuit tins or even to add some more character to
your tree as a creative garland. Old light bulbs and tin cans can be painted and also used as
ornaments in the home.
Pinterest and YouTube have become increasingly popular for Do it Yourself (DIY) projects. Why
not try making your own homemade decorations? You may be surprised by your own crafty skills and unique decorations are always a good conversation piece.