Plan your finances during the 8-day Christmas break

James Ryan Jonas

Filipinos will have at least 8-days holiday after the government officially declared December 25 until January 1 special working and regular holidays. (Actually, some people are planning a 12-day holiday by not going to work during the “sandwich” days.)

The last banking day of the year then is on December 24 while the next banking day is on January 2, 2009. During the long holiday, make sure you plan your finances. Otherwise, you might end up cash-strapped because ATMs might go offline or might have no more available cash.

Here are tips from BPI how to plan and manage your finances during the long Christmas holiday.

1. Make sure you withdraw enough cash before December 23. That will give you ample time to prepare all the cash you need for gift-giving, Christmas aginaldo, or pasalubong. ATMs will still be available during the breaks, but spare yourself the hassle of long queues or offline modes by withdrawing enough cash beforehand.

2. Arrange for your incoming local checks to be funded and deposited before December 23. This will give enough time for the check to clear by December 25. Note that non-BPI checks require 3 banking days to clear. Checks deposited within the clearing cut-off time on December 24, 2008 will clear on Saturday, January 3, 2009. Checks deposited after the clearing cut-off time on December 24, 2008 will clear on Tuesday, January 6, 2009. Check with your bank branch their clearing cut-off time.

3. Bills payment and funds transfer transactions in BPI scheduled during December 25, 2008 until January 2, 2009 will be executed on the morning of December 25. Make sure your source accounts are properly funded.

4. BPI and BPI Family Savings Bank loan obligations whose due date falls within the period December 25, 2008 to January 1, 2009 will actually be due on the next banking day, January 2, 2009. However, to avoid the rush on the first banking day of the year, settle your obligations on or before December 24.

5. If your credit card payment due date falls during the 8-day holiday, settle before December 24, 2008 to ensure you have available credit limit over the holidays. For local check payments, allow for clearing time and pay before December 22.

Hope these tips will help you have a worry-free Christmas holiday! Merry Christmas!

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.