Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Handling Your Christmas Bonus Wisely

When I was young, I always hear people say that Christmas is for kids.  That’s why I used to be concern of growing old since I might not enjoy the fun and festivities that the holiday season brings if I am already an adult.

It turns out that Christmas is one of the most awaited time of the year by “grown ups” especially those belonging in the employed sector mainly because of the 13th month pay and bonuses given by their respective employers.

In the Philippines, it is mandatory for companies to give their workers a 13th month pay on or before December 24 while giving bonuses is a prerogative of employers depending on the performance of their employees that year.  A bonus can be in cash or in kind like gift certificates, grocery items, and other gifts.  

And once an employee gets his hands on to his much-awaited bonuses, which may come as early as November, one can’t help but get himself into shopping mode.  With bazaars and tiangges sprouting like mushrooms in just about every corner, a lot of people end up asking, “Where did my money go?” just weeks after receiving their gifts from their bosses.

When things like these happen, Christmas is just around the corner, indeed.  Well, I just hope people will be wiser in spending their bonuses and still save even a portion of what used to be a big amount when the actual Christmas day comes and will not end up looking for places to hide or stay away from godchildren.  This may sound funny but I know some who does this trick almost every year.

Being a working mom for four years now, I have gained some lessons from good and bad experiences in handling money during the holidays.  Here are tips that I would like to share that I hope can help others to show how special their loved ones are without spending that much in giving gifts this Christmas.

1.      Make a list.  Write down the names of the people you are planning to give a gift this holiday.  You may write their age, what their interest or hobby and how much is your budget for each one of them.  Having a list will also help you avoid missing out someone or buying more items than the number of your intended recipients.

2.      Make your own presents.  If you know how to bake cookies, cakes or pastries, you may send them to your officemates or to your boss.  Gifts don’t really need to come from the store.  People will also appreciate the fact that you spent time cooking and preparing for such gifts.  Just make sure you practice cleanliness from the mixing of ingredients up to the packaging so it won’t get spoiled easily. 
3.      Shop early.  Good items with good prices are the first one bought in store.  Don’t wait for Christmas rush hours to go shopping so you can still compare prices from one store to another.  Also, when you are under time pressure, you’ll sometime end up buying just about anything that looks good in your eyes without considering the quality and the price.

4.      Avoid using Credit Cards if you can.  Those plastic cards are so easy to use.  Just swipe it and sign the transaction receipt and you can take home whatever you want.  The temptation can sometimes be irresistible but if possible, use your credit card for emergencies only.  If you’ll use it, make sure that the amount you’ll get is something you can pay within a month to avoid any finance charge or late payment fee.

5.      Check out items on sale.  There is nothing wrong in digging for items from a bargain bins or going to warehouse sales.  With patience and being practical, you’ll soon find a jewel by being practical. Almost all major malls go on sale on and before Christmas.  Don’t think that giving sale items to loved ones means you don’t love them that much.   After all, it’s the thought that counts

Hopefully, by following these tips, you’ll be able to lessen your spending and save some money during the holidays.  It will definitely be a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year if you don’t have to think about debts and still has some cash left for other upcoming occasions.

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