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10 Super Awesome Tips for a Well-Spent Christmas

Updated December 15, 2020
December is here! Now, how are you going to spend your savings and bonus this Christmas?
The countdown for Christmas is felt more than ever as the last month of the year rolled in. Most of us are now looking forward to the 13th-month bonus after the whole year of living payday to payday. The year-end bonus seems to be a lifesaver for those who weren’t able to save up. And for those who’ve got savings, congratulations!
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This Christmas, it is best to be wise spenders to fully feel that your money has been well spent. Nobody wants to wake up after Christmas Eve with empty pockets, not seeing a trace of your money but unwashed dishes and leftovers from Noche Buena.
How to Calculate Your 13th Month Pay
We have to accept the fact that many Filipinos look forward to the 13th-month pay because it is the only cash they expect to spend on Christmas and New Year celebrations.
How do you calculate your bonus? This mandatory bonus is based on your earned salary this year.
Let’s say you were hired last March with a salary of P14,000. Since you would have been working for ten months by December, you can compute it this way:
The total salary you earned this year / 12
(Php 14,000 x 10 months)/12 = P11, 666.67
However, if your bonus exceeds P82,000, then it will be subjected to tax.
Do not spend everything in one go! Here are 10 amazing ways to spend the Christmas season.

#10: Spend your 13th-month bonus wisely

Charity
It is that time of the year when we feel that we ought to be extra helpful to our sick, poor, homeless, and abandoned kababayans through a church or an NGO. It may not yield any tangible object or cashback, but it does give you the emotional rewards. Christmas is a season of giving, after all.
Reward Yourself
If you are that type of person who would rather put your loved ones first before self needs, then have something to reward yourself this Christmas. It could be an hour of massage, a spa session, a gadget, a bag, makeup kit, or a short out of town vacation, which may cause P1 000 or less. Make it something you have wanted for quite some time. You don’t need to spend all of your bonus. You can allocate as much as 10% for a nice treat.
Shop for Christmas Gifts
Take time to make a list and then go bargain hunting to Divisoria or Baclaran. You can also go online shopping. The gifts may not be expensive, but make them relevant enough to the person you are giving them. Also, do not use up all of your savings only for the gifts. Make it 20% of your bonus.
Consider Investing in MF and UITF
For long-term plans, you can invest in mutual funds or UITF through your bank. Ask your bank or other legitimate financial institutions how you can invest in their financial products. These are less liquid investments, which means you can’t quickly convert them into cash. If you will need the money soon, it is better not to invest.
Also, investing is risky, so make sure that you study how to invest and ask for professional advice. There are also free seminars conducted that you may take advantage of, such as the COL Financial Group’s PSE Center seminars. Starting on these investments can open a lot of financial opportunities for you. Take it slow first. There is no need to make hasty decisions.
Home Renovations
This is that time of the year when you can have some simple home renovations. Have some simple home improvement to make it cozier; after all, this is one place where you can freely relax after a day’s job.
Insurance
A life insurance policy gives your family the financial safety net should you suddenly pass away. It is recommended to get coverage as much as 5 times your annual salary to give your loved ones a few years of sustainability. Cheaper policies may sound good for the pocket, but the coverage may be minimal.
You can also use part of your bonus for a healthcare plan. Yes, you may already have PhilHealth as part of your company benefit. However, we have to face the truth that its coverage is minimal. It does not even cover emergency room costs. Save yourself from financial disaster when you suddenly get medical emergencies by getting a healthcare plan that covers you and your family.
Pay-Off Debts and Bills
Start your 2017 with a clean slate. If you still have some debts to pay, now is the best time to settle them. You may experience cash separation anxiety, but you must remember that it is your responsibility to pay off your borrowed money. Also, this saves you from snowballing debt that can put you in financial disaster. If you have a credit card, pay off your outstanding bills to save your credit report.
Retirement Savings
It is never early to save up for retirement, so put aside a portion of your bonus for this one. Yes, we have either GSIS or SSS pension for this one, but you will find out that it isn’t much (really) as you go on researching.
Emergency Savings
This can be three to six months’ worth of your salary. It may seem big, but it can begin with a small portion of your bonus. You can use this money for ‘real’ emergency needs, not for a birthday celebration nor a toy your child is demanding for if it isn’t a life or death situation, better not touch these savings.
Start-Up a Business
If you want to start a small business such as a sari-sari store or food stall, go ahead and have a chance to get an extra income. Do not worry if your business starts small. You can make it bigger by adding more working capital after some time.
Just beware of the people who propose that you invest in their business as a ‘member’ or ‘partner’ to earn more in a short period of time. You might fall victim to scams. Instant money doesn’t happen unless you hit the lotto jackpot.

#9: Draft your Christmas Budget

Since Christmas is the most awaited holiday for most Filipinos, both physical and online shops have geared up their most tempting sales. Some put up ‘50% to 70% Off’ sales while others have a ‘Buy one, Take1’ strategy. These are evidently enticing. However, it would be best if you controlled your shopping urges. Decide how much you will spend on gifts and Christmas dinner now and stick with it to ensure that you can still have savings after the holiday glee.

#8: Redeem Your Credit Card Rewards

If you have a credit card, now is the best time to use the rebates, Miles, and freebies. Remember that most credit cards have expiration dates on rewards points, free miles, and cashback. It will be such a waste if you can’t redeem them. Sayang! You can even use these as gifts to your loved ones and friends this season to save up.
Also, avoid overspending with your credit card. You may give grand gifts, but you will end up with a very high bill at the end of the month. If you fail to settle it, your credit report will suffer.

#7: Pre-Christmas Shopping and Booking

Start shopping and booking early. When you go window shopping, you can start noting the prizes of the items you want to buy for a certain person. This way, you can compare prices and know where to buy with the best deal. And even if it is way too early to buy a Christmas gift, you can already buy it and keep it until the gift-giving day.
Take advantage of early booking promos. Airlines, restaurants, and hotels give promos if you reserve tickets, tables, and accommodations a few months ahead. This is a good deal, especially if you are with your special someone or your barkadas.

#6: Stay Objective

Some people buy on impulse while others but out of emotional attachment. You see an item that reminds you of someone, and it is okay to buy it unless you are either going way over the budget or already have a gift for that person. Let’s say you already bought a perfume for your boyfriend, and then you saw a trendy watch which you think he would also love.
If you are on a tight budget, better skip the watch and save up to buy it for him on his birthday or next Christmas. Keep in mind that you are following a budget and the needs must go first before wants.

#5: Look for Best Shopping Deals

A lot of stores offer promos if you make some reservations or orders ahead of Christmas. There are many caterers, bakeshops, and people who create made-to-order cakes/pastries who offer discounts or freebies if you order a few days before Christmas. Shop around for the biggest deal you can strike, but do not buy just because of the freebie being thrown in. Good deals may also require you to make a bigger purchase.

#4: Have ‘Secret Santa’s’

Let’s say you have more than 10 co-workers you are close with. It is not economical to give each one a gift. Suggest having a ‘Secret Santa’ or Monito-Monita. This way, everyone can have a gift, and you can buy just one gift for a certain person. You can also do this at your family dinner.

#3: Make Your Own Christmas Dinner or Host a Potluck

Yes, dining out or ordering a packaged food from a restaurant or fast food can be expensive and sometimes insufficient to make every stomach full. It is better to cook for dinner or hold pot luck. Ask your relatives or even your neighbors if they want to have Noche Buena with your family, and they can bring some food with them.

#2: Make DIY Gifts

Nowadays, DIY gifts are very trendy. It does not only cost cheaper, but it is also special since it is personalized. If you can bake cakes and cupcakes, you can put them in a simple box and give them to your relatives and friends. You can also create personalized keychains, bracelets, or home décor. You will never know it may even start a small business.

#1: Give Time to your Loved Ones

The best gift this Christmas is your time. Precious memories are more valuable than any expensive gifts you can ever give. Spending the holiday together with laughter and love will be cherished for a lifetime, much longer than a physical gift that can get lost or broken.

Pro Tip: 13th Month Bonus is your chance to save, not to spend.

Having some savings gives you peace of mind. Spending all your savings this season may give temporary satisfaction, but you will wake up after a few days and wonder why your money just slipped between your fingers, or worst, you would have an emergency. There will be nothing left but empty pockets.
Need extra cash for the holidays? Get it a quick cash loan from Cash Mart.

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