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‘Meh Christmas money’

By Finbar Garcia, LUTCF, FSS, MFA

It’s that time again—trying to stretch your dollar, gifts to buy, delicious meals for the family, ham, pastelle, sorrel and ginger beer.

This is usually a season of ‘heavy’ and at times unnecessary spending, and when January reaches it’s like ‘we broken to break open’.

Let’s try and place some control on the spending. Think you can get through the holidays without spending a fortune?

It can be easy to go overboard on the holiday shopping. However, with a little planning, budgeting, and some innovative thinking, it is possible to celebrate without spending all your cash or maxing out that credit card.

Don’t get wrapped up in the holiday season spending spree, remember the reason for Christmas, it’s not about spending, but about Christ—caring, forgiving and loving. Make this part of your Christmas philosophy.

Here are some tips.

Stick to a budget

Don’t get carried away with the competitions being offered to win prizes. What are the odds of winning? You rack up debt trying to win. Make your list, check it twice, who was naughty or nice, some persons can be removed from that list. Maybe focus on the children or one family gift rather than multiple gifts for the same house.

By budgeting, you can set limits on the purchases and still enjoy the season. It’s not from your rent or grocery money and other monthly bills, it’s not about using that credit card, or easy loans from those financial institutions that you must now repay over a period with high interest.

Some persons start their cutbacks early. Skip that extra latte or fast food crave and set that money towards the season’s budget gift list.

Save in advance

It might well be late for some persons who did not save in advance but setting aside a little from January towards Christmas in December, would have saved you a lot of headache and budgeting worries.

Don’t rely on your company bonus as things may be difficult for the company and cutbacks can come. Remember, we are still in a pandemic.

Set a dollar amount limit per gift

Who’s on your list? Itemise your list, set a dollar amount, shop around at different locations. Sometimes the same items are cheaper at certain stores outside the malls. This can save you some cash that can be used to fund another gift on your list.

Say ‘No’

You don’t want to be a Christmas Scrooge or Grinch, but all these office or association gift exchanges can take a bite from your already-planned and tight budget list. These activities and gift exchanges don’t have to be a store gift.

How about a bottle of homemade wine, sorrel, ginger beer, or ponche-de-crème, even a cake nicely decorated – of course once you are able to do so or have a friend assist you. This will be considerable saving and something different, a trend you can start.


While this may sound strange, at times we receive so many gifts during the year that we don’t use them. These can be used at office exchanges or even to newly made friends or neighbours….just don’t regift it back to the same person!

Choose time over money

This may be a bit of a challenge due to the pandemic, but if it’s possible, spending time with friends and family that you have not seen for quite a while may be the best gift that you can give.

Giving of your time is always much more appreciated than an actual item. Remember since the pandemic, many persons have lost friends and family, so knowing that you can be there for them is certainly a precious gift. Prepare a nice lunch and carry it for them. Value the togetherness over gifts and the memories over the clutter.

Christmas garage sale

By selling unused gifts or items that you don’t need any more may give you that extra cash to purchase some of those gifts. These garage sales can rake in some serious cash to offset or complement your already tight budget.

Making that extra money

If you are ready to use that God-given talent, and you can bake, cook, or even make homemade wine, these can fetch some cash. Many persons take orders for pastelles and fruit cake. Don’t hold on to that talent; it’s God’s gift to you.

Have a Holy Christmas, and a bright and prosperous New Year, 2022.

Did you know…

  • That borrowing on credit surges over the Christmas season
  • Persons never get out of the cycle of credit card debt because they spend the entire year paying off the debt from last year, only to get sucked back in during the holidays
  • Credit card companies, banks, credit unions and other financial institutions create special marketing campaigns at this time to get you wrapped up in the spending
  • Hire purchase sales soar at this time of the year, and you end up paying more than twice the cost for the item

That’s not going to be you this year, right?

Parang, parang, parang….

Feliz Navidad…. Parang, parang, parang.

Ah ain’t spending like ah Mad….Parang, parang, parang.

De Covid hit meh hard…. Parang, parang, parang.

And de finances real, real bad….Parang, parang, parang

Ah go keep meh spending tight…. parang, parang, parang.

Cause things not looking bright…. parang, parang, parang.

This year ah going by family…… parang, parang, parang.

Ah want to save meh money…. parang, parang, parang.

Aye Aye….

Call me for more information on planning your financial future. Send your questions to or call 620-1185.