Money-saving Ideas for the Holiday Season

James Ryan Jonas

Holidays spell a lot of fun, but we need to admit it also includes a lot of spending. From Christmas decors up to the countless gifts we have to wrap and unwrap, we cannot help but ask ourselves what to do to keep our savings from drying up. The dilemma lies in how we can be both practical and festive at the same time. Or is there such a thing?

We have put together savvy ways to keep our financial sanity intact amid the burgeoning Yuletide fever.

Shop Online

The conventional way of shopping which requires people to go outside the house and physically be inside a retail shop or supermarket is not only passé but also more expensive than online shopping. When we go to the grocery stores or malls, we often commit the sin of “compulsive shopping” or buying items that we really do not need. We tend to spend more than our intended budget. In online shopping, there are less chances of compulsive shopping as you get to think your purchases over and over. Plus, you can do online shopping at the very confines of your home. You do not have to go through the holiday chaos of meeting an avalanche of people and waste time standing in long lines. Outside expenses like eating out and transportation can be also eliminated.

Make a Shopping List

Another way to prevent compulsive shopping is to make a shopping list and stick to it. A golden rule you must follow is: If it’s not on your list, do not buy it.

Leave Your Credit Card at Home

Do not spend money you haven’t earned yet. If you are an impulsive buyer, it is better to leave your credit card at home. It will help you cut out unnecessary spending.

Do Not Give in to Peer Pressure

Do not give expensive gifts just to please other people. Always stick to your budget or opt for handmade gifts that are more personal and more creative.

As Much as Possible, Don’t Buy Before Christmas

December is a month full of parties, exchange gifts, reunions, and other festivities. This means that December is also a month most favorable to business owners as they get to increase the prices of their products with the increasing demand from the consuming public. All you have to do is get back to your basic economics lesson about law of demand and supply and you’ll automatically get what I’m saying.

Thus, you should know how to be patient and learn how to wait until all the holiday spirit subsides. It is highly advised you do your shopping in the second to third week of January. After-Christmas sales and other clearance sales include discounts up to 75%.

Reinvent Your Idea of Fun

Fun is not solely confined to the hallowed halls of shopping malls. You do not need to bring your family or loved ones to the mall all the time just to keep up with what others are doing. Learn to try out different ways to celebrate the festive season. Instead of eating out, you can make homemade meals at home and let other family members help you out in the preparation. Parlor games may be old-fashioned but can be a lot of fun, too especially when you have other guests at home. You can also watch DVDs or tune in to your cable channel for feel-good family movies. And of course, who wouldn’t enjoy belting a song or two in the good ol’ videoke? There are infinite ways you can have fun without spending so much. Just learn to use your creativity.

Sell your Old Stuff Online

However, if you really are short on cash, you can try selling out unused stuff in your home like your clothes, shoes, or gadgets. Think of it as holding a garage sale online. People nowadays do not mind buying second-items as long as the items are still functional and look good as new. Clean your house, especially your room and you might find something worth selling. Take a picture of it and post it in buy-and- sell groups on Facebook, Carousell, etc. Just remember that you have to take good pictures of your items; you have to present them well so they can be noticed and get sold faster.

Recycle Christmas Food

When the holidays are over, we are often left with tones of leftover food. The best thing to do is not to throw it to the garbage can or give it away to your dog as you can experiment with it and turn it into tempting meals that can satisfy your family cravings. Leftover foods can actually be more delicious the second time around! Resurrect your food scraps from your refrigerator and whip up a more creative, edible gastronomic delight that would make your family think twice if the food they are eating is really a “leftover.”

* Note: This post is published in partnership with Lamudi Philippines.

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.