Life hacks: How to enjoy the holidays on a tight budget

Dec. 27, 2016

TAGUM CITY, Philippines — Celebrating the holidays on a tight budget is not always easy. But Tagumenos have found many creative ways to celebrate affordably and enjoy the Christmas season without cutting down on quality.

Christmas decorations add a festive touch to the celebration, according to Ria Magnabua, 36, a housewife and a resident of this city.

Instead of buying new decorations, Magnabua said that she is using some personal items to decorate her family’s Christmas tree.

“I always customize our Christmas decorations at home instead of buying expensive decors at shopping malls,” the mother of four children told DavaoToday.

Items such as her children’s ornaments or toys, family pictures and a string of lights were used to adorn their house in time for Christmas. She also suggested to reuse Christmas decorations if the budget is minimal.

“I think it is better and more cheap to use items that have personal meanings to you than to buy the usual Christmas decorations,” she said. “The real meaning of Christmas would always depend on what holidays mean for you.”

Spend time with the family

Apart from decorations, the long Christmas holidays are also an opportunity to spend quality time and activities with the whole family, friends and relatives.

For Joshua Gomez, 25, a youth leader of a church-based group here, said that they celebrate Christmas season with various kind of activities.

He, however, pointed out that unlike other families that opted to celebrate the holidays either in expensive beach and inland resorts or spending time in malls, his family are just playing board games at the comfort of their home.

“For me, playing board games with the family is more intimate to enjoy the Christmas holidays. This is the only time that we could spend quality time without any interference from our work,” Gomez said.

He added that it has been an annual tradition of his family to play board games instead of spending expensive leisure or entertainments elsewhere.

“We are doing this because there’s something positive here and that is to be with your family, to rest for a while and to enjoy the moment… and for practicality,” he explained.

Plan the meal ahead

When it comes to food, the better way to do a budget Christmas is to plan the meals ahead and make a rule not to buy food unless all food items inside the fridge and cupboards were used.

“Planning the Christmas meals ahead would save you a lot of money because you won’t buy food items of which you already have. That’s my practice since then so that I won’t have spare foods,” Tina Delahente,36, a restaurant owner, said.

A better way to be creative and festive on Christmas meals, according to Delahente, is to cook the same food but in different ways.

“You can always come up with various combinations of foods by adding new flavors,” she said. “Just incorporate some variations in presentation so that it will be unique and appealing.”

Stick to the holiday budget

Bearing in mind to stick on the holiday budget, one should control the urge to shop expensively for gifts.

Glenda Salvacion, 38, a retail store owner at Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte, advised that before buying gifts, both price and budget must be factored in order to spend the money wisely.

“Before buying all in the so-called ‘wish list,’ it would be more prudent that you should stick to the budget,” she said.

She also added that using gift cards, voucher codes, and promo codes will be a lifesaver this Christmas because gifts can be bought at certain discount prices.

“Although some are minimal discounts only but what’s really important there is that you get to save a certain amount of the items you bought. I guess it’s a big help to avail them,” Salvacion explained in using gift cards for discounts. (

comments powered by Disqus