Brand experience officer, reputation management
Unit Trust Corporation
It’s that time of the year again. Yes, the Christmas season has come calling. We hear the sweet parang, and out come the decorations; the malls are decorated and commercials are all so inv
It’s that time of the year again. Yes, the Christmas season has come calling. We hear the sweet parang, and out come 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 utilisng 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
Pastelles, 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.
(Content courtesy the Unit Trust Corporation)