Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

IT’S that time of the year again... Parols are hung around everywhere giving off a festive glow. Christmas trees suddenly pop out of nowhere while Christmas songs waft softly through shopping malls. It’s that time once again – to shop like there’s no tomorrow for your loved ones.

Christmas shopping is always a challenge. You’re competing with hundreds of other weary souls in search for the perfect gift. Here are a few tips to get more out of your precious peso and save your feet some walking:

Give yourself a budget
Remember that you’re not Bill Gates. Your pocket does have a bottom. Make your Christmas list, taking care to include everyone you intend to buy for. Count how much you’re actually able to spend and spread it across each of your lucky gift-recipients. Though chances are the most expensive things will catch your eye, remember your budget and stick to it.

Shop ahead of time
Everyone says it but precious few actually do it. Shop two months ahead of time -- at the minimum. Better yet, make everyday Christmas shopping day. While browsing through the stores for yourself, look for your loved ones’ gifts as well. Shopping ahead of time gives you the luxury to look around and browse. Who knows? There could be better deals just around the corner.

Check out the not-so-usual stores
Forget the brand name stores. The best deals can be found where you least expect it. So shop around in small stores, department stores and tiangges. These forgotten shops most often hold the best deals at unexpectedly low prices.

Also, don’t forget the Christmas bazaars that usually start as early as October. You can find great deals and basement prices. Best of all, you can haggle. Don’t be afraid to start at half the price they’re asking for and work your way from there.

Watch out for those mid-October sales
Malls usually have mid-October sales where the prices drop dramatically. Of course, they’re trying to get rid of old stock to make way for new ones. But, who cares? They still look good and at half or even less of the cost. So, wear your comfiest shoes and head on over to the nearest mall. You’ll be surprised how much cheaper that Kamiseta skirt you’ve been eyeing has become.

Ask your personal contacts
Christmas brings out the businesswoman in some of us. Homemade cookies, brownies, jewelry, clothing… you name it, somebody is bound to sell it. Just ask around. Prices for these items usually go for much lower than buying it off the shelf.

Make your own Christmas gifts
If buying your gifts from someone else doesn’t suit you, then break out the artist in you and make some yourself. They say the best gifts are the ones given from the heart? Then make your loved ones a personalized card. Tired of giving those chocolate chip cookies for Christmas? Well, bake your own crazy flavored creation. There are no limits to your imagination and your loved ones will appreciate your efforts that Christmas.

Be creative!
Christmas doesn’t only mean buying your gifts. Exercise your creativity and make a Christmas you and your family will never forget. Maybe you could volunteer your family to a charity organization and build a house together. Make Christmas season truly the season for giving. Or maybe you could make each of your loved ones a gift certificate for your services. Each of them could get something out of you without you spending a buck.

Remember gift-giving is an expression of gratitude and love. So, spread the love this Christmas season anyway you can. Your imagination is the only limit


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