As we head towards the end of the year, there will be a number of holidays and festivals starting with Eid al Adha at the end of this week, through Thanksgiving, Divali, Christmas and then the New Year. The one thing they all have in common is that money will be spent and often far more than people can afford.

Whilst some holidays are a purely religious occasion and others are based around a shared meal, many holidays and festivals call for the giving of presents as well as other expenses. It can soon add up and you can end up in debt and paying for it for some time to come.

It may be too late to plan for this year’s holiday, but next year why not set yourself a budget to you can easily afford the expense and not have a break spoiled by monetary concerns. We always know at least roughly when a festival will occur to it’s an easy enough matter to start putting some money aside months ahead to either cover or contribute to the costs.

It has become common for people to spend their spare time in shopping malls, encouraged by 24 hour opening in the UAE over Eid, but it is not necessary to spend a lot of money to have a good time. Real friends are concerned about the thought and gesture of being given a gift, not what you’ve spent.

  1. Plan ahead.
  2. Set aside some money each month for big expenses, especially when you know they are happening
  3. Work out a budget & try & stick to it
  4. Think twice about what you are buying
  5. Go shopping with a list & make a note of the maximum spend per person
  6. Try & avoid over-spending. It’s easy to fall prey to the holiday spirit & overspend.
  7. Agree a maximum spend with friends & family
  8. Try not to pay with a credit card as they extra interest if you don’t repay it immediately will increase your costs
  9. If you know what someone wants try & do some research & find the best price for an item
  10. Remember that a thoughtful & wanted gift is far better than something expensive that isn’t really wanted

The holidays are not about materialism, it’s about family and friends. Plan your spending so you can really enjoy the time. Happy Holidays!

Keren Bobker is an Independent Financial Adviser at Holborn Assets and writes at