There’s plenty of good reason to smile these days. Aside from feeling the air of Christmas and seeing the beautiful decorations around, it’s that time of the year again when our bank accounts get stuffed because of 13th month pay and other year-end bonuses. But the question is–how long will it last? Some people just let the money pass through their hands, and before they know it, everything is gone even before the holidays are over. So here are some ideas on how you can handle your Christmas windfall so that it actually lasts until next year and beyond! Read on.
1. Stay away from the sales.
The holiday season is always bustling with sales and discounts. And any shopaholic can tell you–those red tags have an uncanny power of making you buy stuff that you don't really need just because they're on sale. If you can't resist the sale racks or control your shopping impulse, it's better to steer clear of them so you don't end up with unnecessary purchases, buyer's remorse, or worse–an empty wallet.
2. Keep a gift list.
It can be easy to exceed your budget on Christmas gifts if you don't have a list to keep you in check. Even if you want to give your loved ones the best gifts for the holidays, make sure to set a limit to your spending and stick firmly to your gift budget. You don't want to end up penniless or in debt after the holidays just because you spent so much on gifts. Plus, you don't always have to buy the most expensive items to show that you care. Handmade or DIY presents are just as thoughtful and appreciated as any off-the-shelf items.
3. Recycle or refashion your holiday outfits.
Looking your best this holiday season doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Instead of making a beeline for the latest fashion trends, look through your closet for outfits that you can reuse for your year-end parties or get-togethers. Pretend that you're a stylist and try mixing and matching your clothes until you come up with interesting and head-turning combinations. If you want to experiment further, you can even break out the old needle and thread and refashion your wardrobe into something completely new.
4. Don’t spend your windfall before you even get it.
Most of us are guilty of spending our Christmas bonuses even before they even come by charging our holiday shopping to our credit cards, committing to events or trips on impulse, or racking up unnecessary expenses that we couldn’t afford if we didn’t have the extra cash. Don’t make a habit of relying on a windfall for expenses that you already incurred. Because if the pay is delayed or it’s not as much as you expected, then you’ll be in big trouble. Counting your chickens before they hatch will just lead to financial disaster.
5. Start an emergency fund or beef up your existing one.
Give your emergency fund a good boost by depositing a big chunk of your 13th month pay into it. If you can deposit the entire amount, that’s even better. If you don’t have an emergency fund yet, now’s the perfect time to start one. You’ll thank yourself later for it.
6. Start investing or diversify your portfolio.
If you want make your 13th month pay work for you, start looking into investment products that suit your risk tolerance. You can put your money into bonds, mutual funds, UITF, or stocks and watch it grow after a few years. If you’ve been investing for a while, use the windfall to diversify your investment portfolio or to add on to your assets.
7. Forget that you received a 13th month pay.
A foolproof way of making your windfall last is to forget that you ever got it. Leave your 13th month pay in the bank or transfer it to another account that you cannot immediately access. Out of sight, out of mind.
8. Indulge but within reasonable limits.
You do deserve a reward for all the hard work you’ve put in for the entire year but don’t use up your entire 13th month pay to celebrate. Give yourself a set amount for guilt-free spending (maybe around 50 percent or less) then save the rest for a rainy day.
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