[Ask TBM] How to Keep Your Spending in Check During the Christmas Season

The holidays are a time for Christmas shopping, but when left unchecked, can deplete finances quickly. Finance guru Chinkee Tan shares how to be careful with your spending.

What are the areas of my finances that I have to watch out for or take care of during the Christmas season?

Christmas is a season of giving and spending. As Filipinos, we start to celebrate Christmas as early as the -ber months came in. And isn’t it true that we spend more time giving gifts than receiving them? The joy of giving and getting gifts, however, should not be overshadowed by the financial pitfalls associated with it.

[With that], it’s a good idea to keep yourself from overspending and to budget your expenses. Here’s how:

Keep track of your expenses

It is important to know how much money you are spending so that you can make sure that the amount doesn’t exceed your limits. This will help you budget your expenses [in order to] avoid overspending. You can use a notebook or a spreadsheet [to make it] easier for you to visualize. If you have a spending app in place, [that’s better].

Budget your expenses

There are many different ways of budgeting. Some people prefer to divide their income into categories like housing, utilities, food, etc., while others prefer having one single budget with various items assigned into subcategories underneath it (e.g., groceries).

Whatever method suits best for you will work just fine! However, the most important thing here is that whatever method meets your needs—just stick with it! 

Go easy on credit card shopping

Since the holidays are a time for spending, it’s likely that you’ll be tempted to use your credit card more than usual. But if you’re trying to build good financial habits, paying with cash or debit cards instead of credit can help curb unnecessary purchases. If you must use a credit card, try to pay it off as soon as possible—and avoid using it for everyday purchases.

Don’t use your credit card as an emergency fund or anything else. If something unexpected comes up during the holiday season and money gets tight, even temporarily—like an accident or illness—it’s important not to rely on debt as a safety net.

If this happens to you, look into options like deferment or forbearance (whereby interest stops accruing) until things get better. Some banks may be willing to work with individuals in tricky financial situations during the holidays.

Keep track of your holiday spending

During the holidays, it’s easy to lose track of how much money you’re spending. It can also be hard to remember what gifts were purchased for whom.

To keep track of your holiday spending, make a list of all your expenses and keep it somewhere you will see it often, like on your fridge. Add the date, amount, and purpose for each expense as they appear so that when January rolls around, you’ll know exactly where your money went!

If you have trouble keeping up with it all in Excel or Numbers on your computer or phone’s spreadsheet app, consider using an online tool. They are designed specifically for budgeting purposes and offer automatic savings goals based on how much income is coming in per month—so no need for manually setting aside money from each paycheck!

Don’t overspend on gifts

  • Don’t spend more than you can afford.
  • Don’t buy things you don’t need (or can make yourself).
  • Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale or because a friend or family member wants it.

Stick to your budget

Budgeting is one of the most important things you can do to take control of your money. By setting a budget and sticking to it, you will have enough money for your Christmas gifts and other expenses.

You should first make a list of all the people for whom you would like to buy gifts for this holiday season. Once that is done, think about how much money each person should get based on your budget. It may be helpful if you decide on an amount per person or group so that they know what they are getting. That way, they won’t expect more than what they asked for.

If a person asks how much their gift should be worth, tell them [that it’s] either what they could buy with their allowance or simply say it’s whatever makes them happy!

Put your extra expenses in a separate account so you won’t use it on something else during the year.

The key to a successful Christmas season is in knowing how much you are spending. Once you know what your budget is, then it’s easy to figure out where the money goes. You should put all of your extra expenses in separate accounts so they don’t get mixed up with other expenses.

This will help you better manage your debt and save for the future. If you want to learn how to avoid the 12 Financial Mistakes This Christmas, please check this video.

I hope this article has helped you understand what you need to do in order to manage your finances during the Christmas season.

If there’s one thing I want you to remember from reading this article, it’s that spending money on gifts isn’t the most important part of Christmas. It is a time to celebrate with family and friends, which is why we give gifts and share our love for Christ.

Chinkee Tan, aka “Mr. Chink Positive!” is known foremost as a motivational speaker on money, mindset, and success. He also doubles as a radio, TV, and social media personality, radio anchor, and host of Radyo5 92.3 News FM.

What’s more, he has authored three bestselling books, “Till Debt Do Us Part: Practical Steps To Financial Freedom,” “For Richer and For Poorer,” and “Rich God Poor God,” which are available at all branches of National Bookstore, Fully Booked, and Philippine Christian Bookstore nationwide.

To date, his personal website and Facebook page have amassed 4.5 million followers, while his YouTube Channel—aptly named Chink Positive—already has more than 2 million subscribers, making him a go-to for financial advice.

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