December is undoubtedly one of the costliest months of the year (with all the Christmas decors, parties, and presents), but the good news is, you still have roughly four months to prepare for it. If you’ve been following FN’s P100,000 challenge, then you’ve probably already saved up quite a bit to cover the—let’s face it—inevitable expenses. But if you want to have more than just a paltry sum left over after all the festivities, here are some tips to help you out:

1. Stay away from temptation.

A previous health study reveals that temptation is easier to resist if you steer clear of it in the first place. It’s called precommitment, and it is based on the premise that you can’t rely on willpower alone. If you want to save at least P50,000 before Christmas day, stop going to the mall. You may not give in to your urge to spend today, but who’s to say you won’t succumb next week?

2. Give yourself a raise.

Are you in the habit of paying yourself first? Well now it’s time to give yourself a raise. Up the ante by setting aside double what you used to. You may have to make more than just a few sacrifices (no more soft drinks, cabs, or any unnecessary expenses for you), but your Christmas is going to be a blast.

3. Keep cash in.

Unless you know your way around the stock market, don’t open any new investments and expect your money back by December. Don’t be so quick to lend other people (a.k.a. your friends) money either because you’ll definitely have a hard time getting it back. According to Cosmopolitan, “if you can’t afford to lose money, you can’t afford to lend it.” Simply tell your friends that you’d love to help, but you just don’t have any cash to spare.

4. Stick to your budgeting guns.

Saving for December without following a basic budget plan is like going to war without a defense strategyit's bound to end badly. We say ditch the bahala na attitude, and come up with an exact formula to make sure you reach your goal. Track your expenses on a daily basis, so you know exactly where your money is going. Need help? Check out these five budgeting apps!

5. Call a friend.

Having a bunch of friends to share this P50,000 journey with is priceless. They'll be the first to tell you not to give up on your goal whenever you feel the urge to settle for puwede na. They'll be the first to cheer you on when you pass the first leg of your race (because it is a race). And when you hit the P50,000 mark, they'll be the first you'll celebrate with as well!

(Photo by Vicki Weetman via Flickr Creative Commons)

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