2 Days Before Christmas: How’s Your Wallet?

2 Days Before Christmas: How’s Your Wallet?
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Merry Christmas! It’s the first Christmas for iMillennial blog, and I could no longer wait to share my insights into this merriest season of the year. Yes, it may be the merriest especially for those who are expecting gifts in big boxes wrapped in red and gold, but not really for most of us, the working millennials, who have been perturbed, if not annoyed, since the first Christmas song in September, when asked how much we would shell out for grand celebrations ahead.

It’s not a question of generosity, rather about frugality learned from backbreaking work all year round. What millennial workers love about Christmas are the bonuses, the least those sentimental gifts. With our 13th month pay and other bonuses, we find opportunities to spend reasonably for ourselves – buy gadgets and personal stuff, unwind and travel, and more than anything else, save and invest for our future. Well, so much for the drama!

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Weekend Misadventure. We were bound for Mindoro last Saturday night for my colleague’s biannual charity for the Paluan Mangyans. Despite Urduja storm warnings and all the simulation heuristics, we still had our original plan pushed through. After all, we were confident with the received go-signal from our port contacts; hence, we could not afford missing the chance.

With goods and donations received from good Samaritans, we headed off south and reached Batangas Port at around 11:00PM. It was no surprise we were apprised of the whole situation upon our arrival at the port; however, we stayed overnight hoping we could still have our trip possible by morning. We were stranded – that’s what happened. It was a misadventure that soon turned out a perfect road trip though.

Here are my expenses for the weekend misadventure:

  • PHP 2,500.00 for personal stuff (pair of jeans, shirts, slippers, etc.)
  • PHP 1,000.00 for door-to-door transportation (PHP 2,500.00 actual)
  • PHP 60.00 for Sunday brunch (Batangas lomi)
  • PHP 250.00 for dinner at Rolando’s (Tagaytay)
  • PHP 210.00 for pasalubong (Rowena’s mouthwatering buko tart)
  • Total Expenses: PHP 3,960.00

It was a threat to my Christmas budget, I know, but not totally. First, I really do Christmas shopping for personal stuff a few days before Christmas. In fact, it’s the only season I add items to my closet and drawers, hence PHP 2,500.00 was somehow justified. After all, I usually buy clothes that I am sure I can wear whole year round.

Second, instead of paying PHP 2,500.00 for a Mindoro roundtrip, we were just asked PHP 600.00 (Batangas to Cainta, back and forth). Anyway, it was not raining cats and dogs that we requested our transport provider a road trip – from Anilao Beach (Batangas) to Tagaytay – before heading home, hence PHP 1,000.00 (additional PHP 400.00) for the whole day adventure. Perfect! So, I had the first-time experience with the chilling dusk in Tagaytay while enjoying a bowl of piping hot bulalo soup at Rolando’s.

(c) Educate and Support Paluan Mangyans (Facebook)

If you want to share as well your blessings with the Paluan Mangyans in Mindoro, we are accepting goods and other donations (cash donations are also accepted) as we conduct the activity twice a year, sometime in April and December. Visit our Educate and Support Paluan Mangyans (Facebook community) for more details.

Haggling at Taytay Tiangge. Honestly, I don’t usually buy stuff at flea markets, but my friend Arlene, who runs LanguageStratagem.com, her hubby, and I had a two-hour browsing on items at a bargain at tiangge in Taytay past Tuesday after office.

I had a blue flower garland perfect for our Hawaii-themed Christmas party for PHP 35.00. I didn’t chance any orange Hawaiian shirt though. I’ll just wear the same shirt I had in college during our Hawaiian party, I thought.

Arlene had an Aloha-printed shirt, a flower headdress, and a pair of orange square pants. Yes, she succeeded haggling over the prices of those items soon she bragged about. I don’t know if she also bought something special (gift exchange) for her Monita. Though I was very happy with what I spent for the garland, I felt a little remorse splurging around PHP 200.00 for a dinner at Mang Inasal. I should’ve eaten at home instead.

(c) iMillennial Publishers

With PHP 350.00, soon I found a perfect gift for my Monita (our HR Head) at Robinson’s – an au courant navy blue Armando Caruso shawl. It was already Thursday then, a day before our Christmas party. As I was browsing items along the aisles of the department store at Sta. Lucia Mall, after at Robinson’s, I got an urge as well buying a pair of size-10 Rusty sneakers at a bargain price of PHP 600.00. Not bad!

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Friday came, and I still had a second thought wearing that faded Hawaiian shirt in my closet. After lunch, I chanced the nearby public market, and there luckily, I found a real large-sized orange floral Hawaiian polo and a buri beach hat – a perfect combination (with the blue garland) for our Christmas party. Guess what? I just won a bottle of Adega de Pegoes wine for that best Hawaiian outfit!

Christmas Bonus. Late November, I received my 13th month pay. Since then, we would always talk as well about our bonus – usually equivalent to 14th month salary. Last year, I just had it 75 percent because of my work status the previous year. I was not really excited though.

When we received an email about our meeting with the VP for Finance early this week, the talk at the office about the Christmas bonus got even vociferous that many turned skeptical. Unless it’s about financial crisis and a no-bonus-this-year announcement that the VP won’t schedule such a ‘big deal’ assembly (against years of casual communication by email). If that’d be the case, I’d be missing the epic-fail expressions of my coworkers because I filed a Thursday work leave.

Come Thursday after work, and nobody seemed excited sharing about the announcement. So, I asked a close colleague over Fb chat and – it’s positive! It’s equivalent to 125% of our monthly paycheck. Sounds great!

Oops! I got disappointed though when I checked into my Metrobank Direct. What happened to my bonus? After a few minutes, I just found myself at the HR office requesting for clarification on the meager amount transferred to my account. It was a huge honest mistake as they had overlooked the update on my work status since last year. So sad! Though I was promised an adjustment by January, I had no choice but to rework a little my Christmas budget.

Saving on a Holiday Season. Who wouldn’t love Christmas and our seasonal culture of generosity? I love Christmas as much as I practice gift-giving, but splurging can really be regretting. However extravagantly spending I have been since the onset of Christmas season, I remain positive with my saving goals. As it happens, I can still secure a PHP 25,000.00-target savings at the end of this month.

How do I make it? I just confirmed myself that I usually splurge whenever I make several trips to the mall. I become impulsive at buying stuff without thoughts whether I still have cheaper alternatives. Shopping, even simple browsing, can be exhausting, and eating, even at an expensive restaurant or fast food chain, can be an instinctive idea when in fact, it’s always frugal to eat at home. Enough for splurging!

I badly need my savings on a holiday season for the payables awaiting settlement as early as January. Early next year, I’ll be paying for my insurance premium, web hosting renewal, and tuition fees (thesis writing).

Christmas is Christmas! Whether we run on a tight budget or have a big discretionary fund for the holiday season, spending for gifts and even a small celebration is inevitable, but it doesn’t mean as well that we splurge. We shouldn’t live a one-day millionaire with our bonuses as these serve as an opportunity for us to build our savings and emergency fund.

It’s two more days before Christmas. How’s your wallet?