XPress Money

12/14/2012 09:05:00 AM

Filipinos have finally ushered in the most celebrated holiday season of the year, marked by the symphony of lights now adorning Ayala Avenue, Roxas Boulevard and other city thoroughfares, to the aural enticement of Christmas medleys playing everywhere, and to countless one-night only bazaars emerging left and right.

Aside from chillier nights and the visual feast of sparkle and color, with the highly anticipated merriment comes the holiday rush—expect heavy traffic, crowded malls and flea markets. Gift-wrapping counters will eventually look like a war zone, and amid the frenzy in the stores, families will be dazed by the tons of choicest gifts.

“The first and foremost rule is to decide exactly how much money can be safely and logically dispensed for Christmas, and budget accordingly,” said Ed Cobangbang, Xpress Money Country Manager for Business Development in the Philippines. “Doing this one thing will give you peace of mind in the long haul, and will eliminate any post-Christmas regret from ever happening.”

According to Cobangbang, marketing campaigns following the entry of the holiday season usually target overseas-based Filipinos coming home for Christmas or their families who receive remittances.

“A little discipline goes a long way, but ultimately finding presents for their loved ones should be about the joy of giving,” he added. To help Christmas shoppers avoid burning a hole in their pockets this season, the UK-based money transfer brand shares some practical tips.

Shop ahead. Unsurprisingly, the day before Christmas eve is the busiest shopping day in most parts of the world. Many people tend to procrastinate and postpone gift shopping up to the last minute. Remember that the longer you wait, the fewer the selection. By now, you should have already allotted a few days for your shopping tasks.

There is no need to join the Christmas rush. Feel free to shop throughout the year and take advantage of sales promotions all year-round. Not only will you free up your shopping list one by one, you will also avoid unnecessary panic-buying.

Make a list and check it twice. Make sure that you do not forget anyone, however do not feel obligated to give a gift to everyone at the office. Trim the list to include only the people you most care about. Don’t be afraid to set a limit on each person’s gift either. Put a reasonable cap on the amount you are willing to spend.

Credit is good, but you need cash. Stay away from your credit card. Bring only your shopping money so you will not be tempted to overspend. Unless you are purchasing big ticket items, it is always best to pay everything in cash. Credit is great to have and can be an excellent financial tool when used wisely. Arm yourself with the facts, read the fine print, and have a plan in place before you swipe.

Get creative. Why not do it yourself? Never underestimate what your hands can whip up instead of pouring money on something you can actually make. Try to silk screen a funny quote on a shirt, make bracelets, compile a scrapbook.

Not the crafty kind? Be resourceful instead. Recycle old gift wrappers from last Christmas (even newspapers or magazines) and tie a nice big ribbon around it. Inexpensive materials like Japanese paper will also work.

Know where to shop. Tap your suki connections. They are most likely to give you big discounts. Visit Divisoria and similar flea markets especially if you want to buy in bulk to get lower prices.

Go digital. Do not count out online shopping—you might just find a gem! Bazaars do offer great bargains, but most sellers there probably sell their merchandise online. If you hate waiting in line and seeing people run like headless chickens at the malls, online stores just maybe the place to go. Also explore websites for coupon deals or group buying discounts.

Keep the receipts. Aside from helping you stay within budget, keeping receipts will enable you to return defective or low-quality items.

Cash-in your points. Finally, the year-long shopping pays off! Most credit card companies and store memberships allow you to accumulate points as you shop. Some can be converted into gifts; others are as good as cash. Keep an eye out for members-only promotions as well. This is the time of the year when merchants reward their loyal customers.

Xpress Money is a global money transfer brand with a thriving presence in more than 125 countries in 5 continents across 135,000 agent locations across the world. Working towards the goal of Bringing Home Closer to millions of migrants residing away from their homes, Xpress Money has come to be known as the most dependable international money transfer brand. Xpress Money provides its customers a simple, fast & safe way to transfer money anywhere in the world through innovative technology, superior customer service and its extensive worldwide network. For more information, visit www.xpressmoney.com.

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