Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 29th 2015 Contents NOVEMBER 29 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
For the unprepared, Christmas
can come at a high price.
Between gifts, wrapping paper,
parties and impulse buying,
Christmas can spell financial
ruin even for the most savvy
of investors. With intelligent cost cutting
and creative thinking, Christmas does not
have to be drain on your wallet.
Unfortunately, many people end up dread-
ing the Christmas season simply because it
often means incredible amounts of debt and
financial stress. And, in a world where
investors are bombarded with financial and
economic stresses, there is really no need to
add to the burden.
The biggest reason people implode finan-
cially during Christmas is failure to plan and
budget. Many times it is difficult to remember
exactly how your money was spent and,
often times, this money is wasted on frivolous
purchases. Having and sticking to a Christ-
mas budget will ensure peace of mind and
allow investors to stay out of the red.
So where do you start?
The first step is to make a list, as simple
as this sounds, this is crucial to setting stage
for the Yuletide season. Once you decide
who is deserving of a gift, determine how
much money you can realistically afford to
spend. Then, designate a set portion of the
total amount for each person on your list.
For example, let s say you have $600 to
spend, and you need to buy gifts for ten
family members and five friends. You may
decide that you ll spend $40 on each person
on the list.
On the other hand, you may want to spend
$50 on each of your family members and
$20 on each of your friends.
Avoid the urge of purchasing gifts for
yourself, as this can increase your budget
with unplanned expenses. Staying focused
in the mist of the festivity is crucial, so you
may want to reconsider spending your hard-
earned income on elaborate decorations and
exquisite food and beverages since they
would only result in more debt. Following
a good budget can lower debt, increase fund-
ing for saving and investing, and reduce the
overall stress associated with this time of
Unfortunately, many holiday shoppers let
their emotions get the best of them, and
they end up overspending. Not only will
overspending break your budget, but you ll
also deplete your finances and ruin your
Another proven strategy for making
Christmas less expensive down is refusing
to go into debt via the credit card. Simply
put, there is no defensible reason to spend
money you don t have on Christmas.
As tempting as the use of your credit card
is for shopping, its use should be judicious
and not be used in reckless manner as prof-
ligate spending will derail your well-inten-
tioned plans. One way to force yourself to
stick to your holiday budget is to pay for all
your gifts with cash. Simply withdraw the
amount that you can afford to spend on
your holiday gifts, when that money is gone,
Christmas time is over.
As an investor, it would be prudent to
give financial gifts that would assist in
improving the financial well-being of family
and friends. Cash gifts do not have a lasting
value because the money is quickly spent
and toys and gadgets can quickly become
obsolete in today s technology obsessed soci-
A good way to introduce relatives and
friends to the world of investing would be
giving a gift of units in any of UTC s funds---
namely UTC Universal Retirement Fund---
to motivate those who are in dire need of
retirement option, or by opening a UTC TT$
Income Fund for the beginner investor.
For the more sophisticated family member,
there is the growth and income fund family
where the investor has the potential to earn
capital growth and dividend income.
In this way, you can ignite the savings
habit and create an investment mindset for
relatives and friends and introduce them to
the concept of diversification. Such actions
can go a long way towards putting them on
the path to investing and assist them in
attaining some measure of confidence in
improving their financial health.
Try these Christmas holiday spending budget
strategies to ease financial tension during this
hectic Christmas season:
• Create a budget. Determine how much
money is available for you to spend based on
your current financial situation. Be realistic
with your Christmas holiday spending budget,
regardless of how much or little you can play
with. This is your spending limit, and your
goal is to stay within it. There s no need to
get into extensive debt because of the hol-
• Make a list. List everyone that you need
to furnish a gift for so you can create a realistic
plan to accommodate your gift-giving needs.
• Start now: If you have not started work-
ing on a budget, now is a good time to start.
Avoid leaving your Christmas shopping until
the last moment. You ll likely pay higher
prices and spend more time feeling aggravated
in the line.
Don t let Scrooge overshadow your Christ-
mas festivities. Christmas budgeting may
seem like a humbling or constricting endeav-
our, but it can actually be very enlightening
if approached with an open mind.
Unit Trust Corporation
Resist the urge to splurge
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