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Andrei Muchnik 2019-12-19

4 tips to manage your holiday spending

This article was created in partnership with Western Union.

New Year’s is the most celebrated holiday in Russia. It’s also a time of magic when we try to pay more attention to our loved ones. You might be preparing for the holiday already, deciding where and how to celebrate, what outfit to wear and how to manage your holiday spending.

In 2018, a survey conducted by Romir found that approximately 68% of Russians planned to spend the New Year’s holiday at home with family and 17% planned to spend it with friends. A large part of these celebrations is the exchange of gifts. In a special report devoted to New Year’s holiday spending, Deloitte found that the average Russian spends about 16 900 rubles on New Year’s preparations, with 42% of that sum going toward gifts.

The trick is to plan your New Year’s holiday spending efficiently so that the holiday season doesn’t hurt your budget. Here are a few tips on how to cut down on some of your holiday costs.

1. Save on celebrations

According to the Deloitte report, 47% of the 16 900 rubles spent on the holiday goes to food and drinks and 11% pays for entertainment. You can easily save on these categories if you need to make more room in your gift budget. First, decide whether you are spending New Year’s Eve with just a few people or throwing a large party. Obviously, the smaller the scale, the more you can cut down your expenses. Buy all the ingredients at a discount store and make sure you don’t overcook — you don’t want to eat that Olivier salad for the rest of January!

2. Stick to a gift budget

Make a list of the people you are giving gifts to and write down the amount that you are willing to spend on each gift. When the time comes to buy the gifts, do not exceed the budget you set. If going to a shopping center might tempt you to buy more than expected, consider ordering everything online from home to stay on the safe side. If you do choose to go to the shopping center, leave your credit card at home to limit the maximum you can spend.

If you want to avoid the shopping center crowds, don’t forget that monetary gifts are always welcome. In fact, the Deloitte report says money is No. 1 on the wishlist for 62% of Russians. Download the Western Union® app to quickly and reliably send money to loved ones near and far come celebration time.

3. Take advantage of store discounts

“Black Friday” deals are getting more and more popular in Russia. Subscribe to news alerts from your favorite stores on social networks (Facebook, Instagram, VK). Before New Year’s, there are often limited-time promotions, and social networks can help you find out about them.

Remember that sales often start a few days before New Year’s Eve, so prepare ahead of time by identifying all the gifts you need beforehand. That way, you can avoid having to make decisions on the spot during the frenzied sales period. When the sale is announced, you can quickly order all the items online or go straight to the store.

Another tip: Use the unspent cashback points on your bank card. Sometimes there’s enough to pay for a significant part of the gift.

4. Make gifts by hand

A great way to save money is to make gifts with your own hands. Gift-making can also be a relaxing way to spend your winter evenings. Maybe you can make a toy for a Christmas tree, bake gingerbread cookies or knit a scarf. These ideas will surely be gifts to remember!

Start planning your holiday spending early on, so you can focus on what really matters during this season — spending time with friends and family!

This Article was written by

Andrei Muchnik Andrei Muchnik was born and raised in Russia. He currently writes on culture for Lonely Planet and The Moscow Times, as well as several Russian language publications. He most recently wrote a Moscow guide for The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/russia/moscow-local-guide/ Andrei has also worked in PR and other copywriting roles, both in Russia and around the world (New York, Geneva).

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