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Gift-giving takes on new meaning as Filipinos adjust to inflation: Tala

The cost of living has gone up drastically around the world. This worries Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who diligently support their families in the Philippines. Because of inflationary prices and remittance fees, the money sent home doesn’t buy as much as it used to. OFWs and their families who rely on them are working hard to make the money go further by balancing immediate needs and wants.

Tala, a leading digital financial platform, understands the importance of addressing the evolving financial needs and aspirations of OFWs who send significant remittances back home. Tala helps with creative and mindful tips on responsible spending this Christmas season.

Financial Planning

● Before you take out your wallet, be honest about your financial situation. List your regular and ordinary income and expenses for November through January. Do not list predicted income like merit bonuses, loans, and cash gifts or holiday-related expenses like gifts and gala. Subtract the total expenses from the total income to arrive at your total starting budget.

● Once you reach a realistic starting budget, identify the top spending categories like gifts, decorations, food, and entertainment. Then set specific limits for each category, and aim not to exceed these limits throughout the holiday season. By knowing how much you have available in each category, you avoid overspending.

● Unexpected events like a hospital visit or a windfall can change your starting budget. Adjust as needed using Tala’s free budget tracker, which is accessible at

Consider Quality Time vs. Gifts

For many, the genuine joy of shared experiences far surpasses the fleeting pleasure of material gifts. This year, consider intentionally devoting time to your loved ones, whether through in-person gatherings or virtual connections

instead of gifting physical gifts. Prioritize creating memories and fostering meaningful conversations as part of a gift-free celebration. Some ideas for quality time:

● Schedule regular video calls on a designated day in the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year. These virtual gatherings foster year-round connections and provide a platform for sharing experiences, creating lasting memories despite physical separation.

● Create a memory that transcends distance by recording yourself reading a poem or a story representing your 2023. Share the recording with your family and friends abroad. The sound of your voice will bring you closer, even from afar, and they will cherish this personalized gift for years to come.

● Not all enjoyable events require tickets. Watch Christmas light shows at plazas and public parks, attend Simbang Gabi, and see fireworks displays that are free and open to all.

● During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, some families may find themselves feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Offer to help ease their burden by providing babysitting services. Give parents a much-needed break to decorate the tree, string lights, bake holiday treats, shop for gifts, or wrap presents without interruptions. This thoughtful gesture will not only alleviate stress but also create cherished memories for the entire family.

Thoughtful Gifting

Thoughtful, budget-friendly gifts hold just as much sentiment, emphasizing that it’s the thought and love behind the exchange, not the price tag, that truly matters. While material gifts often symbolize our affection, the true spirit of the holidays lies in shared experiences and thoughtful gestures.

● Start by identifying your immediate family as your top priority for personalized gifts. Consider their individual tastes and preferences when selecting presents. For extended family and friends, opt for more cost-effective gestures like tokens or holiday cards to convey warmth and goodwill. Stick to one thoughtful gift per person to avoid overspending.

● Be cautious of retailers’ “special offers” and “unmissable deals.” Avoid making impulsive purchases simply because items are on sale. Instead, focus on gifts that don’t require traditional wrapping, such as gift cards, subscriptions, or experiences. Remember that the true holiday spirit lies in spending quality time with loved ones, not accumulating debt.

● Encourage unity and shared appreciation by pooling funds with your loved ones to purchase a single, thoughtful gift for each recipient. Discuss spending limits openly to ensure everyone is comfortable with the arrangement and to prioritize meaningful gifting. This approach helps maintain financial control during the holiday season.

● Embrace sustainability by re-gifting items in excellent condition, such as unopened candles or unused bath products. Opt for eco-friendly wrapping like reusable cloth or brown paper adorned with natural materials. For a personal touch, create homemade gifts like baked goods or handcrafted items.

● Additionally, express gratitude by contributing to your family members’ savings or covering a family member’s bill or top-up using Tala’s e-Wallet.

By being intentional with money this holiday season, whether it’s from OFWs or credit, you can start to have peace of mind even after the celebrations. Iona Iñigo-Mayo, Director for Global Customer Experience Operations at Tala Philippines, says that OFWs matter a lot to Tala: “OFWs and their families hold a special place in our hearts at Tala. With our commitments to financial literacy and responsible lending to our fellow Filipinos, we aim to ensure that every peso contributes to a brighter and more secure future for everyone, wherever they may be this holiday season.”