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15 June, 2024
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Navigating the festive frenzy

A guide to thoughtful spending for the holidays

By Andreea Stoinescu*

The holiday season is synonymous with the joy of giving, whereas Christmas traditions include the delight of gift-giving (and receiving, however, it's equally important to navigate our finances with care. This article aims to offer a series of practical tips for smart spending during the holiday season, ensuring that the spirit of Christmas is celebrated with joy, not overshadowed by financial stress.

1. Understanding the Economic Climate

In the current landscape of rising inflation and interest rates, your household budget may be feeling the pinch more than ever. It's crucial to understand how these economic changes impact your wallet and how you can align with these new financial realities and create more mindful spending habits.

2. Set a Budget

Setting a budget and planning ahead will prevent you from overspending or going into debt. This preemptive step is the cornerstone of mindful spending. Consider your expenses from previous years and remember to account for hidden costs. As we also need to enjoy the holiday season and Christmas shopping usually is a most pleasurable activity, going around into all the decorated stores, it is ok to account in the budget for an amount considered as ‘splurge expense’. This will give you a safety net and protect you from falling into the trap of impulse buying -which paired with the easiness of installment payments can give you the illusion of affordability- and will allow you to feel guilt-free and fit within your overall financial goals. A well-planned budget is your first line of defense, allowing you to enjoy the festivities without financial regrets.

3. Track Your Spending

As the holiday season progresses, keep track of your spending. You can use a spreadsheet, a budgeting app, or even a simple notebook. Monitoring your expenses will help you stay within your budget and make adjustments if you're spending more than planned.

4. Smart Gift-Giving

Gift-giving is an art that doesn't necessarily require lavish spending. Thoughtful, affordable gift ideas can bring equal, if not more, joy. Consider homemade gifts, personalized items, or even the gift of time and experiences. These alternatives not only save money but also add a unique personal touch, making the holiday season memorable for both the giver and the receiver.
For example, at Pastel Gifts, a specialized online gifts business our recommendation to our customers is to focus more on each person’s personality and taste, as the thoughtfulness in putting together or choosing the right gift can weigh more than the price tag. Another thing that sometimes is overlooked but which can make a big difference is writing a personalized greeting card with a few words from the heart and addressed to the exact person you are sending the gift.

5. Long-Term Financial Well-being

Responsible holiday spending plays a crucial role in your broader financial health. It's an opportunity to practice restraint and forward-thinking, setting the tone for long-term savings and debt management. Consider the bigger financial picture and how your holiday spending decisions can affect your overall financial well-being and goals.

Remember that smart spending during Christmas is about balancing the joy of the season with financial prudence. By planning ahead and being mindful of your spending habits, you can enjoy the festivities to the fullest without compromising your financial stability for the next year. And you might even be able to save a small part of that “13th salary” that most people receive in Cyprus.

*Andreea Stoinescu is the founder of Pastel Gifts

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