(First of four parts)
“ON the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…”
For sure, you are familiar with the song “12 Days of Christmas.” We have also made our own version – 12 Financial Mistakes during Christmas – so you can sing your way into financial freedom this holiday season.
Christmas day is such a special day. This is when the family is complete. Overseas Filipino Workers come home, some even travel back to their provinces just to be together.
Though Christmas is our most awaited holiday, it is relatively the most expensive day of the year. Feasting is expensive. Gifting is for sure pocket-emptying.
“That’s okay. This just happens once a year. Give love on Christmas Day, right?”
This is our frequent excuse whenever we spend during the holidays. Because of this mindset, our bank account resets to zero. What is more saddening is that we oftentimes acquire debt because of this attitude.
In this series, we will identify which spending habits or financial decision that Filipinos normally do but are not so wise so we can finish the Christmas season happily and so that we can prepare for the next year with stronger finances.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This famous saying is so true, especially in our finances. In the first installment in this series, we will focus on our financial preparation for the holidays so we are ready for our battle with our Christmas expenses.
FINANCIAL MISTAKE NO. 1: NO SAVINGS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
We know too well how we eat during the holidays. It does not feel Christmas if we only have one main dish. Others even kill a whole pig and a whole cow to have a grand feast that leads also to grand expenses.
Knowing this reality, you must already be saving up for Christmas even if it is months away. To not be burdened with saving for the holidays, I suggest that you start fattening up that piggy bank even if it is just January.
You got loose change? Feed it to your piggy bank. Confused with the new five-peso and ten-peso coins? Stop confusing yourself. Feed those silver coins into your piggy bank.
This saving method may seem to be only for children but it is and always will be an effective saving technique. Because of this simple method, your saving up will be stress-free and in no time, you will be ready for the Christmas expenses.
FINANCIAL MISTAKE NO. 2: NO PLAN FOR THE 13TH MONTH PAY/BONUS
More than the parties, there is something that people anticipate during the holidays – the 13th month pay. Before you send your 13th month pay to the mall or to the salon, sit down first, get a notebook and envelopes.
Thirteenth month pay is a special fund. Do not waste it. Put it to important things especially to those that can secure your future.
To help you manage this special fund, I suggest that you use the envelope system. I suggest the following partition:
FIRST ENVELOPE: Tithes (10 percent)
God gave us the strength and the ability to create wealth. So it is good that we give back to Him. Let’s give back to our church. This is a good practice to give and to discipline ourselves to resist greed.
SECOND ENVELOPE: Savings (20 percent)
This can be your investment fund or your seed money for your business.
THIRD ENVELOPE: Emergency fund (20 percent)
You will never know when the rainy day will come. It is best that we prepare.
FOURTH ENVELOPE: Freedom fund (20 percent)
Christmas is better if there are no other things to think about. Free yourself this season. Pay off your debt.
FIFTH ENVELOPE: Christmas fund (30 percent)
This can be your fund for indulging yourself. It can be your feast fund, your glow up fund, or your gift fund. Use this money to express love on Christmas day.
FINANCIAL MISTAKE NO. 3: NOT PRIORITIZING THE NEEDS
Part of adulting is owning up to our responsibilities and prioritizing them. So before you spend all your bonus to “Noche Buena” (Christmas Eve repast), list down all your priorities first.
Bills? For sure that electric bill will go up because of all your Christmas lights.
Bills? For sure your OFW relatives will video chat you on Christmas. Make sure you pay your internet bill on time.
Bills? For sure you will cook a lot so it is better that you save up for gas money.
In budgeting and identifying financial priorities, always remind yourself of this whenever you want to give in to unnecessary spending.
Today, we feast. Tomorrow, we fast.
Do not fall into this trap. Always have a regard to your responsibilities first.
Christmas is indeed a fun season, but you know what, financial management is not seasonal. If you really want to achieve your financial goals, you need discipline.
Christmas may be a season of giving, but it does not mean giving into the toxic spending habits we normally do during the holidays. Let us be wiser in all of our purchases and financial decisions this Christmas Day!
THINK. REFLECT. APPLY.
- Are your financially prepared for the holidays?
- What are your plans for your 13th month pay and bonus?
- What are the things that you need to prioritize this Christmas?