Make your holidays really happy

By Lynda C. Corpuz

No, that’s not a misprint. We mean the 2007 holidays. This is for those who welcomed the New Year not with a bang but with debts incurred last Christmas. So plan your expenses way in advance to avoid overspending.

Plot annual expenditures – holidays included. Figure out how much you need for 2007. Don’t just include your regular monthly expenses. Remember to add occasional or annual costs such as insurance premiums, property taxes, birthday parties, and, yes, holiday gifts.

Sweat the small stuff. Be really thrifty to have enough money throughout the year to avoid maxing out your cards. That doesn’t mean making such a big sacrifice. Giving up your weekly dose of Frappuccino, for instance, will easily save you more than P5,000 a year, which could already be your holiday budget.

Earn extra. Taking a summer job if you’re a student or getting sidelines if you’re already employed throughout the year will also help you save up for the holidays. Whatever you earn should be set aside for holiday expenses.

Use your credit card – wisely.
Your credit card can be your best friend or your worst enemy. If you use it responsibly, you can actually use it to your advantage. Some cards offer cash rebates and many reward points that you can later exchange for airline miles or items. Yes, give that toaster to Uncle Jun.

Get personal. Make homemade gifts. And do them during your spare time, so you don’t end up all stressed out, rushing during the holidays. Designing coffee mugs for your officemates has the personal touch that they will appreciate.

Time your purchases. Buying holiday gifts before the holiday season, particularly during mall-wide sales or at flea markets throughout the year, will mean lots of savings and a lot less stress.

Help the needy.
Buying stuff from cause-oriented enterprises such as the annual Noel bazaar and other worthy, charitable projects, is a more meaningful way to celebrate the holidays because not only you are saving money, you help make the world a better place.

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