How to Avoid Overspending During Christmas Season

Photo credit:pixabay
Photo credit:pixabay

December is the happiest month in the Philippines. Many Filipinos look forward to it. In fact, as early as August Christmas carols are being played already in the radio.  Decors are starting to bloom the city streets and malls even months before the Christmas season, and extends till January in some provinces like in Cebu in celebration of the Sto Nino (Holy Child). It is a joyful season of sharing,  giving and receiving gifts. Not only that, it is also the time when people have money. Christmas bonuses, 13h month pay, gift certificates, etc are being distributed by employers to their employees. Christmas sale banners are spreading like wildfire in malls, stores and other retail establishments. It is so easy to spend. Anyway, it’s Christmas, people would often argue. Well, there’s nothing wrong with spending your money since that is your hard-earned money. However, we should keep in mind that there is still tomorrow. I’ve often heard stories of people falling into huge debt when the New Year comes even though they receive their month’s paycheck and 13th month pay. Their money is gone into thin air. And they start the year as if they didn’t earn any income the previous year. It is a sad reality because people often don’t know what to do with their bonuses and 13-month pay. Overspending not only Christmas, but other occasion as well is a menace that keeps people poor.

So in this post, I’d like to share four things to do to avoid overspending on Christmas season.

  1. Plan your Christmas spending.
Photo credit: pixabay
Photo credit: pixabay

There is a famous quote that says,”If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Planning your spending on Christmas can avoid you to lose your hard-earned money. As I write this, I just finished making a list on where to spend my money on Christmas season. It includes the fare in going back to my hometown, the gifts I’m going to give and to whom, the things I’m going to give myself, the contribution I will give to our New Year’s Eve dinner etc. Perhaps, my case is different from you, but I’m sure you get the idea. You don’t need sophisticated apps to plan. Just a simple pen and paper will do the job. I use Microsoft Excel since I’m comfortable using it. Try it now. Plan your Christmas spending. Write in details by including the estimated amount for each item.

  1. Determine your needs and wants.
Photo credit: pixabay
Photo credit: pixabay

Most often we get into trouble because we can’t distinguish our needs from wants. Sometimes we think that we need a new iPhone because we think we can’t live without it whereas we just need a call and text features, camera or can connect to Internet which an ordinary smart phone with a reasonable price can do. Same is true with shoes, clothes, watches etc. Review your list you made for your Christmas spending. Take a look at them and check if the thing you wrote down is really a need or just a want. If you think you don’t want the thing in your list, take it out. You’ll be surprised of how much you can save by not allowing yourselves to give free reign to your wants. There is an exercise which I do to avoid buying items that I don’t need. When I go to the malls and see something that appeals to my eyes, I would often check it and look for the price. Though I can afford it, I usually delay buying it for a month. When I go back after a month and  the thing still appeals to me, I usually buy it. But usually  I lost interest with it since I don’t really need it.

  1. Be careful with sale items.
Photo credit: pixabay
Photo credit: pixabay

That four-letter word is rampant during this holiday season. Christmas Sale, midnight sale, 50-percent sale are posted on the walls of many establishment particularly malls.  Sale is wonderful as you get a discount from the original price. I also love sale. I often check for sale pronouncement so I can take advantage of it. Yet, there is a problem lurking behind it when we are not careful. Impulse buying is a disease that keeps people from saving their money. It aggravates when there is a sale. People buy anything and immediately even if the things they buy are not needed. “I bought it in a sale, they often proudly say. But, when the excitement is gone, the thing is usually stock somewhere in the house and never used. What a waste of money. Impulse buying can be prevented by doing the tips I mentioned above, having a plan and a list of the things that are really needed.So,  every time there’s  a sale posted outside a boutique, check your list.

  1. Learn to invest
Photo credit: pixabay
Photo credit: pixabay

The idea of investing is setting aside a portion of your  income to investment instruments that make it grow through time for your future needs.  Research around on what investment instrument that suits you. It might be Stocks, Mutual fund, UITF or VUL.  Educate yourself first before investing. You can check blogs such as Stock Market For Pinoys or join an FB group like Investing in the Philippines Stock Market –  Tips and Tricks . Watch the Pesos and Sense video series. Here you will have an idea about investing in general. They will also help and guide  you as you start your journey in the investing world.

Christmas is a joyful season. May we all enjoy it and I’m hoping that when New Year comes, our pockets are still intact. Let’s be smart spender.

Have a blessed Christmas to you and your family.

 If you have some tips to avoid overspending during Christmas season, please feel free to write them in the comment section.

Three Things Why You Need to Love Traffic

Photo credit: pixabay
Photo credit: pixabay

Millions of people commute daily from their houses to their offices. In fact, we spend an average 2 to 3 hours per day just to get to work and back. With the number of vehicles increasing and poor traffic regulations plus the undisciplined individuals on the streets, we find ourselves stuck in a long hours of traffic. I have experienced this many times when I go home from the office at night. Sometimes it is burdensome especially if you are commuting in a public transportation. The heat, the irritation, the smell and the face of the person beside you, the smoke make your day a bad one unless you start to love it.

You’re crazy! How can you love traffic? Have you ever been stuck in Edsa?

Yes! If it is possible to love someone we hate, it would also be possible to love something that gives us headaches.

Well, here the three things why you need to love traffic.

First, traffic teaches us the virtue of patience. Someone says,”If you are not used to being patient, you might find yourself being a patient”. Pardon for the corny joke but it says a lot. “Sa tamang panahon”, (in the right time), popularized by the Aldub, becomes the battle cry of single people who long for a partner, of a young entrepreneur who works hard day and night to reach his goal, of a long term investor who knows the time is the key factor for his investment to grow exponentially. In life there are things that we don’t rush. You can’t force a baby to come out from the womb of his mother because you are excited to see your baby. We don’t hurry success. There is no such thing as an overnight success. . People who believe in this thinking are usually the ones who get scam. Patience is indispensable to success. Thank traffic for an opportunity to learn patience.

Second, traffic can educate us. According to a survey, we spend at least an average of 2 to 3 hours trap in traffic. Two to three hours daily is equivalent to one subject in the university. What does it mean? It means that it is possible to finish an entire course even if one finds himself caught in traffic.


By taking advantage of technology.

You have smart phone? An mp3 player? Ipod? Use it. Download audio books and seminars. Download educational videos. Limit your social media. Learn rather than be entertained. As what Harv Eker says, in his book, The Secrets of the Millionaire’s Mind, that poor spend most of their time entertaining themselves while the rich look for opportunity to continue educating themselves.

Next time, if you ever find yourself in traffic, pull out your mp3 and learn from the experts.

Lastly, traffic can strengthen relationships. This is in the case when a family travels together and find themselves in long queue of motorists. By the taking advantage of the time you are confined in that little box, you can make an impact in each member of the family. If you are a parent, get to know your children more while they are still young. For husband and wife, the time inside the car can be used to talk about serious things such as your relationship with each other. Just make a rule that cell phones and tablets must be put off. Let’s be creative in using the time in traffic. If you are given a lemon, turn it to lemonade.

Time is precious and irreversible. What has already passed can never be brought back. We only live once. Make it worthwhile.

Four Powerful Tips in Developing a New Habit to Become a Better You

Photo credit: Pixabay (Creative Common)
Photo credit: Pixabay (Creative Common)

Habit is very powerful. We might not be thinking about it most of the time, but it certainly affects major activities of our lives such as the time we wake up in the morning, how we get dressed, the way we talk and do business, whether we exercise or surf in the internet after work. Brian Tracy, a well-known author and expert in sales, once said that “95 percent of everything that we do is determined by our habits.” Moreover, according to him, the only difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is just that successful people have successful habit. Hence, if we want to be successful in life we should also develop successful habits and cut out those habits that are enjoyable at the moment, but can harm us in the future.

Of course, developing a habit or creating a new one is not very easy. It takes practice and self-discipline. I remember when I was still staying at my old apartment, I had to wake up at around 4am and travel at least an hour to get to the office. Prior to that, I had been waking up at 5:00 am since my previous workplace was near to my old apartment. That is why I had to make adjustments on my wake up time so as to arrive on time.

Waking up early at this time everyday was never easy. I remember the times when I forced myself out of bed when the alarm rang while many people around the world were sleeping soundlessly in the comfort of their own bed. I also experienced going into the shower with my eyes half-closed and a very heavy body. In the first few days, it was grueling. But I had to do it, otherwise I would be late and I was still a new employee then. However, after two weeks, it became less and less difficult. It became natural, and it seems that I had been doing it for a long time. That’s how I learned how habits work.

We have heard that it takes 21 days to develop a habit. Some say it takes 30 days. Whether it is 21 or 30 days the more important thing is to do it, to start that habit you want to have. Here I’d like to share with you four tips on how to develop a new habit to become a better and successful you.

1.Identify the habit you want to possess. Of course, it must be a good habit. A habit that you think can have a great impact in your life. Examine yourself. Better ask a person that you fully trust to give you a feedback on areas that you need to improve. For instance, you want to develop the habit of waking up early to have more time for yourself and to avoid a traffic when you’re on your way for work. Let’s say at 5:00am in the morning. Thus, you have to also sleep early the night before. Ask yourself the reason why you fail to wake up on time. Perhaps, you stay late because of watching your favorite TV show or you just there on your bed browsing your FB timeline etc. After you have identified these reasons, make a plan to cut off some time you spend on these things, and go to bed straight. Yes, it is difficult, but it is just temporary.

2.  Do it for the next three to four weeks straight. If you fail, start all over again. Don’t get discouraged. That’s normal when you are developing new habit. Keep going until it becomes a part of you.

3. Reward yourself. You get to do things when you know that there’s a reward at the end. Every time you wake up on time, reward yourself a nice breakfast or a cup of coffee or whatever reward you like to give yourself. The reward may not be monetary in nature as long as it gives you satisfaction or the good feeling after you have done the habit you are trying to build up in yourself. This will propel you to do it more.

4. Just do it. The famous tagline of Nike is a three powerful words that summarizes the content of this post. No matter how knowledgeable you are about habit, even if you have read tons of research and study about it, action still has the last say.

To achieve success in every area of your life, develop the habits of highly successful and hard-working people.

Change yourself. Change your habit.

The development of successful habit is the key to long-term success. Hope this article helps you. Please feel to share this if you think that the information written here can also help others.

 You might want to read the rule of 10,000 hours.

A wealthy life through self-development, habits, and personal finance