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If we are to survive the Christmas season financially unscathed, we have to realize that we need to spend within a budget. Budget – you know that amount we have left to spend on something we want to buy or do, after all our necessities are taken cared of? Yes, that amount that seems to be almost nowhere in sight after we do the math. Guess what? If we are to enjoy the season and the year ahead, we need to work within it, no matter how limited it is.

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So here are some tips worth noting to make sure that we stay within our respective Christmas budgets.

Reuse Christmas Decors

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The first thing to remember when buying Christmas decors is to choose attractive but durable ones. Buying decors that only last for one season or less is actually very costly in the long run. Just imagine having to buy every year.

Make sure that you have the storage area to keep them in good condition until the next holidays. Otherwise, you will still end up having to buy again if decors get destroyed just the same. Pack individually those that need to be in one before putting in large boxes. Label them as well to make it easier to find what you need next year.

Recycle Gifts

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Recycling gifts used to be a taboo. However, for practical reasons, this ceased to be a strict rule. There are certain parameters to observe if you decide to recycle gifts.

  1. Make sure that you are not giving it to the same person who gave it to you. It would be wise to label a potential re-gift just to serve as guide as to the giver and please make sure to remove anything that would show that it was given to you.
  2. It is a must that it has not been used and is in excellent condition. Otherwise it can form part of your donated items for worthy causes as long as it is still in good condition.
  3. Give the recycled gift to a person from a different social circle to avoid embarrassing situations. Although re-gifting has become a more socially acceptable practice, it is still best to avoid hurt feelings of the giver in actually seeing his or her gift passed on to someone else.

If push comes to shove and there are no gifts to recycle, you can opt for simple DIY gifts that are no less valuable to the receiver.

Prepare Your Own Food

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We all know it is so much easier to order our food from restaurants and food shops. We also know that our budget can also go farther if we choose to distribute responsibility for cooking and preparing food. This is known as potluck where guests contribute a dish to the party.

Of course, this requires more effort but just think that you are preparing the food for people who matter to you. It is recommended though to assign specific food items to avoid duplication. Instead of hiring a caterer, tap into your group’s inner creativity and set up the event using available and borrowed equipment.

Restyle Old Clothes

Shopping for clothes is so exciting that it is almost unthinkable for some not to buy new ones. New clothes however can eat up a big chunk of your Christmas budget. It doesn’t even make much sense to buy if you still have perfectly suitable clothes for the event.

My youngest daughter is quite adept in restyling my old clothes such as the one she’s wearing in the photo below. These are clothes I wore 20 years ago. As you can see, she managed to bring out her personal style without looking like her clothes are outdated. If a Christmas event requires a costume, consider renting instead of buying. Why buy something which you’ll probably only wear once?

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Stay or Leave Home

Going on a trip with the family during the season is always something to look forward to. It is not necessary however if budget won’t permit. Staying at home with the family is actually a very pleasant experience especially if everyone is present.

With the propensity of Filipinos to bring their whole families when visiting godparents, gift-giving can be financially stressful for ninongs and ninangs. This is one of the reasons why many choose to stay away from the house. It would be best though to take care of responsibilities first before making yourself unreachable. A financially capable relative sponsoring a family reunion is a blessing. With the absence of one, family effort can come to the rescue.

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My Say

For the past several years, I have come to realize that we don’t need unlimited funds to be happy during Christmas. I would be a hypocrite to say that I wouldn’t appreciate a windfall of some sort if only to be able to give more to the people I love and the people who have given so much to me without asking for anything in return. Even if that time comes though, I know I have learned enough not to give in to unnecessary expense as I have come to appreciate the great wisdom in saving whenever I can. I will continue spending within my Christmas budget to make sure that I don’t have to face financial regrets.┬áChristmas budget provides us the amount we can comfortably spend to enjoy the season without experiencing financial backfire.

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A freelance researcher-writer who has continuously been in such field for more than 10 years. Know more about her here.

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