Filipinos are known to get into the Christmas spirit the moment the “ber” months arrive. The Christmas season is the biggest and longest holiday Filipinos celebrate because it always puts everyone in a loving, joyful, and giving mood. This time of the year is also when people gather around with their friends and families to give thanks to the meaningful relationships they share. And what better way to show how much you appreciate your loved ones than giving them gifts?
From the office monito-monita to buying presents for all your nieces and nephews, gift giving has always been a part of the Filipino Christmas tradition. There’s just something special when you pick out a gift, wrap it in Christmas paper, and give it to someone special. Seeing the recipient gleam with joy once they receive their gift also places you in a warm and happy state. However, the Christmas spirit can financially burden you if you go overboard buying gifts. Though you may have good intentions, you could be swimming in debt by the time New Year arrives. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to avoid spending too much during the holidays. Here are 8 hot tips for saving money this Christmas season.
- Use Your Bank’s Rewards System
Since you are likely to make more purchases during this season, now’s the perfect time to take advantage of your bank’s rewards programs. Many local financial institutions provide their customers with useful promos and rewards plans to encourage them to use their credit and debit cards more. These points are often earned when you make big purchases. However, there are programs that also reward users who are able to save. Robinsons Bank, for example, offers three financial products that enable users to earn points and rewards: the RRewards card, the DOS Mastercard, and the Cashback card.
RRewards card users can get points when they’re able to maintain a certain amount of average daily balance (ADB) in their account. For every Php 5,000 of monthly ADB, for example, they get 1 point. For every Php 10,000 in excess of Php50,000 monthly ADB, they get 3 points. And for Php 3.5 Million and up worth monthly ADB, they get 1,250 points. These points can be converted into cash, which they can use to shop at Robinsons Bank-affiliated merchants.
Robinsons DOS Mastercard
For customers who use their Robinsons DOS Mastercards to shop, all of their purchases will be automatically converted to a 2-month installment plan. Although some people may be hesitant to choose the shop now, pay later method—because of the fear of going into debt—Robinsons Bank makes it easier for their users. Unlike other financial products, the DOS Mastercard doesn’t come with any added interest. It also doesn’t require you to spend a minimum amount. Plus, you earn 1 point for every Php 50 spent with your Robinsons Bank credit card. As a result, you can monitor your expenses better, which means you can make those payments back on time.
Robinsons Cashback Card
Like what its name implies, the Robinsons Cashback card gives users cash back when they spend a certain amount of money or shop at specific stores. Users can enjoy a 1% rebate on all purchases worth Php 3,500 and a 3% rebate when they purchase items from Robinsons brands and affiliated stores. They also get exclusive discounts and special promos from participating outlets. What’s more, its installment plan is quite flexible, so users can easily manage their credit card bills.
- Take Advantage of the Holiday Sales
It’s a known fact that the malls in the Philippines frequently hold sales. However, they often offer the best price cuts during the holiday season. Almost every shop in the mall also participates in this type of shopping event. Because of this, you can get great deals on many items like apparel, electronics, appliances, as well as grocery store products. You need to take advantage of these holiday sales since they give you the opportunity to buy presents in bulk for cheap. Ingredients for typical Christmas fares are also packaged together, making them more affordable to prepare.
- Create a Budget and Stick to It
Creating a budget specifically for this season is a great way to prevent you from going overboard when Christmas shopping. With it, you can keep an eye on your expenses and make the smart choices when purchasing products. It’s easy to go beyond your budget, especially when you’re surrounded with people who aren’t afraid to spend more during the holidays. However, this is the perfect time to test your budgeting skills. When you’re able to stick to your budget and save more during this season, managing your future expenses will be a piece of cake.
- Shop Online
Online shopping has become much easier, thanks to faster internet, round-the-clock access, and the convenience brought by online shopping apps. With just a few clicks on your smart device, you can find all kinds of products that make for excellent gifts. Many e-commerce stores also offer big discounts on big-ticket items, and they may even waive delivery fees if you spend a certain amount. Plus, you can save more when shopping from the comfort of your home because you don’t have to pay for gas or your commute.
- Give Homemade Gifts
Not all gifts have to be purchased from a store. Sometimes the best presents you can give to your loved ones are those made by you. Homemade gifts often have a more personal touch since you can customize each gift to fit the recipient’s personality. It also gives you a chance to show off your creative side and improve on your crafting skills. What’s more, you have more control over how much money you’ll need to spend to make them, making it easier for you to save.
There are many homemade Christmas gift ideas that can help showcase your appreciation toward your loved ones. Some of the best include the following:
- Baked goods (e.g. cookies, cupcakes, brownies, etc.)
- Scented soaps and bath bombs
- Custom-painted coasters, mugs, and plates
- Sauces and seasonings
- Spend Your 13th-Month and Christmas Bonuses Wisely
The holiday season is when people receive their 13th-month pay and Christmas bonuses, so they have a tendency to splurge during this time of the year. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself, as well as your friends and family, with your hard-earned cash. However, you have to be smart with how and where you use your money to avoid facing financial problems in the future.
Although getting your 13th-month pay or Christmas bonus gives you money to burn, it doesn’t mean you should spend everything in one go. You can allocate a portion of your 13th-month pay or Christmas bonus on sound investments, so you can be financially secure once the New Year ushers in. You can also use the money to pay off your debts and leave the year with no strings attached.
- Start New Money-Saving Holiday Traditions
If you’re used to spending a lot of money during the holidays, now’s the perfect time to start toning things down. After all, you don’t always have to make large purchases or give expensive gifts to make it feel like it’s Christmas. You can still spread cheer and goodwill while practicing new money-saving holiday traditions with your friends and family. Here are three examples of inexpensive Christmas activities to help you start:
- Buying and paying for gifts as a group
- Having a home potluck instead of eating out
- Visiting and participating in nearby Christmas events
- Shop Early
Shopping for presents during the holiday season can get stressful. With so many people trying to get gifts for their loved ones, it’s easy for popular Christmas items to run out in stores and online. It’s also possible that the prices of certain products rack up due to increased demand for the,. A great way to strategically spread out your finances, and make sure that everyone in your list has a present, is to shop early.
Buying presents in advance has several advantages. For one thing, you won’t have to enter crowded malls or lose sleep just to wait for that item you saw online to go on sale. Your odds of getting that perfect present is also relatively higher because chances are, they haven’t sold out in stores. Plus, malls and e-commerce stores hold numerous sales throughout the year, so you can still purchase things at a bargain without subjecting yourself to stress.
Filipinos hold the Christmas season near and dear to their hearts. During this time, people are filled with the spirit of the holidays, and shower their loved ones with numerous gifts. Although gift giving does bring joy to your friends and family, it can harm you financially if you aren’t careful. Thankfully, there are numerous money-saving methods you can employ to keep your expenses low and still make you feel like you’ve shown your gratitude to others. Simple things like shopping online, sticking to a budget, and enjoying inexpensive holiday activities are great ways to ensure that you’re spending within your means. Taking advantage of your bank’s reward system and the holiday sales, on the other hand, are excellent strategies to save up when purchasing many and big-ticket items.
No matter how you plan to celebrate the holidays, remember that you don’t have to spend more to show how much you care. After all, Christmas isn’t about who has spent the most amount of money on gifts. It’s about spending quality time with your loved ones, and celebrating one another.