MANILA, Philippines - For a lot of Filipinos, the much awaited Christmas bonus or 13th month pay is as good as gone.
If you ask them what they plan to do with the extra money, many are thinking of spending it instead if saving.
"Bibili ako ng bagong TV, " said Maridel Duran, a salesgirl.
Her co-worker Marilyn Dano was no different. "Pambili ng mga appliance, mga regalo. Mabilis syang mawala, dadaan lang sa yo yung pera," she said.
By January, many Pinoys are left with no savings, or worse, in debt.
Financial coach Salve Duplito advised Filipinos to use their Christmas bonuses wisely, saying that putting it in the bank is not one of them.
"One or two months, ubos yan. Very accessible kasi ang bangko lalo na kung may ATM. Gagastusin mo rin, walang mangyayari," said Duplito.
Duplito explained that money in the bank earns only 1% a year so it's better to use it to do business or invest in the stock market.
She said investing in stocks or mutual funds earns 10% to 15% per year.
"If you put your P1,000 in the bank, at 1% per year, kikita ka ng P10. Kung sa stocks, at 10% to 15 % or P100 to 150," said Duplito.
"Sa negosyo, mas madali ang pwedeng kitain, pwedeng doble," she added.
But Duplito stressed that she's no Scrooge, saying that it is okay for people to use a part of their Christmas bonus for items that they want and need.
"'Di ko naman sinabing yung 100% iipunin mo, di man lang natikman yung katas ng Pasko," she said.
"Gastusin mo pero may limitasyon," added Duplito, who said it is okay to spend about 5% of the bonus and keep the rest.