After being away from your family for a long time, coming home for the holidays is a joyous moment. But it can also be a very expensive one. From nonstop reunions to overflowing balikbayan boxes, Christmas vacations can create a serious dent on your finances. Don’t allow financial woes to strip the holiday of its joy. Have a stress-free holiday with these OFW vacation tips.

Set a budget

OFW budgeting tips set a budget

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Figure out how much you are willing to spend and can afford for your holiday vacation. Make sure you’ve already set a strict budget before flying back home, and commit to sticking to it. Beyond just your travel expenses, your budget should include all expenses for the Christmas season: shopping for gifts, costs of celebrations, and charitable contributions. Needless to say, you should also be planning for your plane tickets and your daily expenses while in the Philippines. Once your budget is set, commit to sticking to it. And always look for ways to save money, from using coupons to taking advantage of rebates.

Itemize your gifts

Aside from setting a budget for gifts, you need to be more specific with your expense plan to avoid going overboard with your shopping. List down the recipients, and distribute the budget among them. If possible, you should already have a clear plan of what to buy for each one.

Your budget plan for gifts does not have to be complicated. Here’s a sample you can follow: Php2,500 for your spouse, Php1,500 for each of your children, Php1,000 for your parents and in-laws, and Php500 each for your siblings, close friends, and godchildren.

Keep it a private affair

OFW budgeting tips keep it private affair

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While it’s tempting to announce your Christmas vacation on social media, hold it off for now. Just inform your family and close friends instead. This will help you keep your expenses from ballooning, as people won’t be knocking at your door for cash solicitations and sponsorship requests. Keeping it quiet will also allow you to avoid any resentment from people you may not have time to meet up with. If you really want to post photos of your vacation, it’s best to do this after the holidays. This way, you get to curate your best photos and include a message that explains why you only chose to spend your vacation with a few people. People will be more understanding if you take this approach.

Spend within your means

OFW budgeting tips spend within your means

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Many OFWs take out a loan to fund their Christmas vacation. Avoid taking the same route. You should only take out a loan if you plan to spend it on something that will earn more than the interest rates you will be paying. Otherwise, you will be throwing away hard-earned money. Always strive to spend within your means. No vacation or Christmas extravaganza is worth getting into financial ruin for.

Take control of your personal finances

Instead of creating a dent on your finances, take the opportunity to manage your finances while you are back home in the Philippines. Conduct a thorough financial inventory, update your accounts, and proactively look for opportunities to grow your money.

Your holiday break is a good time to manage your assets, attend seminars, open investment accounts, and update your insurance policies. Be wary of scams and opportunists. Never invest in anything you do not have enough knowledge of, and avoid dealing with people who do not have the necessary credentials. Con artists are on the prowl when it’s the holiday season.

Prepare an itinerary

Your expenses can go out of control if you don’t plan your travels while in the country. There are just so many awesome places to visit that things could easily spiral out of control. You can avoid this by preparing an itinerary beforehand. Not only will this let you keep your expenses under control, but this will also allow you to do everything that you actually want to do, instead of just getting pulled in all directions. Having a plan will make it easier to decline invitations to parties and events that are not important to you.

Learn to say “no”

OFW budgeting tips learn to say no

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OFWs are susceptible to pressure from relatives and friends to give gifts and sponsorships. Be ready and willing to say “no” to requests that are not within your budget. Decent people will never pressure you into doing anything that makes you uncomfortable. People who are not so decent will always find ways to see you in a negative light. So don’t be afraid to displease people with a “no.” You can never control what people think. People will see things as they wish. And there is no pleasing people who feel entitled to your hard-earned money. You’re better off doing what’s right, which is sticking to your budget and spending only on essentials.

Keep your family in the loop

OFW budgeting tips keep your family in the loop

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Remember that one of the main reasons you are coming home to the Philippines for the holidays is to be with your family, so make sure you include them in your plans. It’s as much a family affair than a personal vacation. Don’t just impose your wishes on everyone. Include them in the planning process so everyone will have a vacation to remember. If you are like most OFWs, you may have spent way too much time away from your family. Take this rare chance to bond with everyone and make up for lost time. Moreover, doing the planning with your family will instill in them the idea that you are a team. It will also help them learn a thing or two about financial responsibility.

Bring only the money you will need

OFW budgeting tips bring only money needed

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One of the most effective ways you can keep your expenses under control is by bringing only the money you will need. As much as possible keep your credit cards out of reach. If you must bring your cards, make sure you can muster the discipline not to spend more than you intended. Your Christmas vacation won’t be a joyous one if it will result in financial ruin. Avoid this at all cost.

Be practical with your accommodation choice

OFW budgeting tips be practical with accomodation choice

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You’re on vacation, so you deserve to get all the comfort you crave. You’ve been working hard all year and you deserve the treat. Choose your accommodation well. Go for one that is as practical as it is luxurious. Instead of staying in a hotel, rent a condo unit instead. As long as you choose a prime condo property, your accommodation will be as good as any hotel – only cheaper and with the amenities of a home. It will also be more spacious and will accommodate more people. DMCI Homes offers many great options in several locations, so you’ll surely find an affordable condo for rent that meets your needs.

From condo renting to finding inventive ways to keep your expenses under control, these OFW budgeting tips are foolproof and worth following. Go ahead and crunch those numbers now!