Tips to keep you on-budget this festive season

December 21, 2016 9:56 am

* Create a holiday budget and stick to it

* Do some shopping ahead of season

* Combined get-togethers can also help you save

It’s that time of the year again. Christmas and New Year are almost here and you can feel the festive mood everywhere. In the UAE, residents are gearing up for the festivities and the diverse festive spirit of the country is soaring with various events, happening all around the UAE.

Even though these celebrations come once a year, they can easily knock the air out of anyone’s budget! Whether it’s the holiday preparations, gifts or decorations, the financial burden of holiday expenses could weigh you down for the next few months. So how do you enjoy the festivities without burning a hole in your pocket?

Here are a few tips that can help you celebrate a debt-free Christmas and festive season this year.

Shop the smart way this holiday season

With the malls flooded with all things festive, it’s easy to lose track and go overboard with all the shopping. It’s important to create a holiday budget, and more importantly to stick to it. To avoid impulsive purchases, make a list of all the items you need – gifts, decorations etc. and allocate a certain amount to these so you don’t end up overspending.

Another great way to save on these expenses is by shopping ahead of the festive season. Not only will you get good off-season discounts, you will also save yourself from the long queues and crowds of the peak season. Stay up to date with the latest offers, be it on radio, television or mall promotions, as you might miss a good deal if you don’t hear about it. Remember to compare prices and check for deals instead of buying the first thing you see.

Your credit card could also help you with your festive shopping this season. Check if there are any discounts, loyalty rewards, cashback, miles, etc. that can be redeemed for your holiday purchases. Be sure to use your credit card wisely so that you don’t end up accumulating more debt.

Stuck with a shoestring budget? Think outside the box!

If you don’t have a lot of cash to spare this festive season, don’t let your financial constraints dampen your festive spirit. You can still have a great time with friends and family by just taking a slightly different route. If you have a big family or a large group of friends, organise a Secret Santa gift exchange where everyone buys one gift and receives one too.  This way you don’t have to buy ten gifts for everyone, making it easier on your pocket.

A combined Christmas or New Year get-together can also help you and your friends save a considerable sum. You can also design your own Christmas tree decorations and tree toppers and can also get the kids involved in the craft making.

The festive spirit has little to do with money

The festive season doesn’t have to be about fancy gifts and big purchases. Instead, focus on creating memories that would last a lifetime. There are plenty of things you could do which do not require spending huge sums of money. If you are a working parent, this Christmas and New Year’s Eve spend time with your kids and make it a cozy family affair. You could spend a day at the beach or visit the various free-entry winter festivals taking place in the UAE.

Regardless of the budget, you can have a great time with friends, start new family traditions, and make the most of this most wonderful time of the year.

Go to to learn more about making your holidays budget-friendly.


Founder and CEO, Originally from Mauritius, Ambareen Musa holds an undergraduate business degree from RMIT university in Melbourne, Australia. She started her first online