The months from October to December mark our country’s “festive” season – where a number of religious holidays, weddings, good weather and a generally upbeat mood converge. This season sees a lot of gifting and plenty of sales both in stores and online. We are constantly told that their lives will be better if they buy X or use Y and that the happiest women are the ones who carry twenty shopping bags in each hand. While the festive season is a good time to pick up deals, remember these five rules before you check out.
Separate needs and wants
Mobile phones are always on sale during this season, as are other household appliances. While the idea of a new TV or new phone is appealing, take some time to think about your purchase. Is your existing television or phone in such bad shape that you really need to replace it? You can divert these funds instead to something that you might actually need in the future, like the down payment on a vehicle, or even a house.
Start a new financial habit
The festive season is pegged as a good time to start new things, so why not start a new financial habit? Consider investing in an SIP if you haven’t already, or open a recurring deposit account to save for something you want in the near future, or think about employing budgets to keep better track of your spending.
The festive season is a good time to think about those who are less fortunate than we are. Choose a cause that you relate to, and donate money that you would have otherwise spent on something mostly pointless for yourself. Apart from making you feel good about yourself, donations are also tax deductible under section 80G, so keep that receipt handy when the time comes for you to file your taxes!
Research Rewards & Sales
The festive season is, undeniably, a time for gifting. While you can scrimp on getting things for yourself, it becomes harder when you’re out shopping for your loved ones. You can, and you should spoil your friends and family this time of the year, but do so in a smart way. Look up deals and prices in multiple websites before you purchase gifts, especially of the gadget variety. Try to snag clothes during mid-season sales. If you really want to ensure that your gift doesn’t go into a sad corner of your friend/cousin’s cupboard, unused, give them gift vouchers. If you’re on a super tight budget, consider DIY or edible gifts – everyone loves food!
Bust Out That Credit Card
The festive season is a good time to use your credit card, especially if yours is one that has rewards attached to spending. If you don’t have a card that offers rewards, do your research and find a card that offers rewards most suited to your lifestyle. For example, if you’re a frequent flyer, for example, apply for a card that gives you miles, or if you shop often, apply for a card that gives you cashback on your spends. Credit cards are a great tool to get something extra in time for the festive season, provided you don’t forget the first rule of personal finance: Don’t spend money that you don’t have.