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 yearend 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 a lot of Filipinos look forward to the 13th month pay because it is the only cash they expect to spend in 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 with tax.
Do not spend everything in one go! Here are 10 amazing ways to spend on Christmas season.
#10: Spend your 13th month bonus wisely
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 cash back, but it does give you the emotional rewards. Christmas is a season of giving after all.
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 been wanting 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 it relevant enough to the person you are giving it to. Also, do not use up all of your savings only for the gifts. Make it 20% of your bonus.
Consider Investing on MF and UITF
For long term plans, you can invest on mutual funds or UITF through your bank. Ask your bank or other legitimate financial institutions on how you can invest in their financial products. These are less liquid investments which means you can’t quickly convert it 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 which you may take advantage of such as the COL Financial Group’s seminars in PSE Center. Starting on these investments can open a lot of financial opportunities for you. Take it slow first, there is no need make hasty decisions.
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.
Life insurance policy gives your family the financial safety net should you suddenly pass away. It is recommended to get a 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 very limited.
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 very limited. 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 to financial disaster. If you have a credit card, pay off your outstanding bills to save your credit report.
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 as you go on researching you will find out that it isn’t much (really).
This can be three to six months’ worth of your salary. It may seem big, but it can begin with a small portion from 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 this savings.
Start-Up a Business
If you have been wanting 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 proposes that you invest in their business as a ‘member’ or ‘partner’ to earn more in a short period of time. You might fall victim of scams. Instant money don'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 ‘Buy one, Take1’ strategy. These are evidently enticing, however, you must control your shopping urges. Decide how much you are going to spend for 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 of the credit cards have expiration dates on rewards points, free miles and cash back. 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 over spending with your credit card. You may be able to 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 gift giving day.
Take advantage of early booking promos. Airlines, restaurants and hotels give promos if you reserve for 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 which reminds you of someone and it is okay to buy it unless you are either going way over the budget or you already have a gift for that person. Let’s say you already bought a perfume for your boyfriend, then you saw a trendy watch which you think he would also love.
If you are in 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 store offer promos if you make some reservations or orders ahead of Christmas. There are a lot of 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 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 a gift to each one. Suggest to have a ‘Secret Santa’ or Monito-Monita. This way everyone can have a gift and you can buy just one gift to a certain person. You can also do this on 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 a 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, it is also special since it is personalized. If you can bake cakes and cupcakes, you can put is in a simple box and give it 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 a 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 and there will be nothing left but empty pockets.