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Revelries Over

April 21, 2012

Revelries over

January 10, 2012

Revelries over

Monday, 09 January 2012 19:39 Edmund Lao / Personal Finance

DURING the 1990s, on Christmas Day, only the movie houses were open in the malls for the Manila Film Festival. I only got to watch some films after the season was over since I hate queuing. The shops in the malls were usually closed. For that reason, I do not frequent the malls on that day ever since.

Last Christmas, my wife prodded me to drive her to the Mall of Asia to enjoy the afternoon breeze along the bay. To my surprise, the area was full of people from different walks of life. So I decided to go inside the mall. I was even more surprised to see that there were more people inside. (I felt that day was a “madness sale” day.)  The parking areas were occupied, the restaurants were fully booked and the stores were also full of shoppers. That day alone meant that business was very profitable. Christmas is now commercialized! Gone were the days when Christmas was observed with sanctity and people were given the opportunity to be together with their loved ones.

I realized then that I was already ignorant of the trend nowadays. From what I saw that time, I observed that people had so much money to spend on that day. Everybody was spending like there was no tomorrow. Indeed there was no tomorrow. Just today, a New Year’s Day, we went to another mall, Robinson’s in Manila.

I smiled when I saw a reversal. The parking area was not full, the restaurants had less diners, and the shops had less clients. Curiously,  my wife asked a sales girl from a department store regarding my observation. The girl replied that on Christmas dDay, the mall was also doing great business like that of SM MOA but come today, on New Year’s Day, people had no more money to spend, hence fewer shoppers.

What the sales girl revealed did not come as a surprise to me. I have a friend who is into the dynamic world of selling. My friend, being frugal, can wait for a year to get his commission. He reasoned that by having his commission annualized, he avoids the temptation to spend unnecessarily and impulsively per month. He lives comfortably below his monthly income. He treats his commission as extra income. And even better, his commission comes along with his Christmas benefit. That makes him wealthier than others every Christmas season. He invests his hard-earned money to make it grow. His other colleagues always get their commissions monthly (they even earn bigger than my frugal friend). Every month they always have to ask for their commission because they have used all their money or spent more than what they have earned.

Just last December, his colleagues got their commissions, SL/VL and 13th-month pay. After a day or two, they were already asking for cash advance. This time around, the reason was that their monies were already used up for buying lavish gifts and partying.

During merrymaking, everybody is happy. After the festivity is over, everybody is burdened with financial problem due to uncontrolled spending. Spending as if there is no tomorrow will ensure that his tomorrow will not come anymore since he will be solving the problem of his past financial mistake.

Ever heard of the definition of the word “INSANITY”? It means doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. How then can a person expect to be wealthier when he continues on spending impulsively and unwisely during the time of bounty?

Below are some tips to help avoid extravagant expenses for the next Christmas season:

Buy gifts in advance and after Christmas. Doing this, one avoids pressure-buying since one can take time and check the quality and price of the item to be bought.

Recycle old gifts. There are gifts that were received which are redundant. Just make sure that the recipient will not know that it was a gift from others. Anyway, it is the thought that counts.

Give GCs. Gift checks or certificates are perfect as the recipient knows what he needs to buy. At the same time, we eliminate the time lost in scouting for gifts.

Give cooked food. Giving cooked food during Christmas is a lot cheaper and can be appreciated by the recipient. Cooking involves effort on the part of the giver and is truly an expression of love and sincerity.

Give old toys and clothes. This is an example of hitting two birds with one stone. Gifting people with old but usable items makes them happy and at the same time, eliminates clutter in the home.

The gift of time. This is the perfect gift one can give. It must be noted that some people are not happy receiving gifts through courier. People appreciate more the normal and regular time and attention given than the once-a-year gift received. Most of the time, the majority need time to be spent with them, just be listened to. Time is money and time is worth more than money can give.

So for the next revelry, before deciding to spend on extravagant items, try considering the above tips. It not only saves you money but will make others really happier.

Edmund Lao is a candidate for registered financial planner (RFP) designation. Currently, he is a sales engineer in one of the biggest media companies in the Philippines. To know more about RFP program, please visit or inquire at


From → Savings, spending

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