Deals of the Week: How to avoid the festive season budget blowout

Visa says holiday shoppers should avoid spending more on presents than they can realistically afford.

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It may not be classed as a Deal of the Week, but it is a timely reminder to consumers not to spend beyond their means this festive and New Year season.

As part of its global financial literacy campaign, Visa, the global credit-card giant, is encouraging people to resist spending too much and getting into financial difficulty, despite the pressure to go out and celebrate, to buy gifts, Christmas trees and decorations, and, for many expats, pay for flights home.

"Christmas is indeed the season of giving - and spending," Visa says. "But, it is never too late to start budgeting, even now during the usual last-minute shopping frenzy. And, with a brand new year just around the corner, now is a good time to think and put into practice new financial resolutions to avoid that post-Christmas money hangover into 2012."

One solution, Visa says, is to stick to your budget - or even create one now if you've not already done so.

"The best budgets are realistically achievable," says Lama Kabbani, the corporate communications manager for Visa Middle East.

"Prioritise your festive duties and only spend money on what you can realistically afford to avoid the risk of getting into debt. The benefit of budgeting will pay dividends as you enter the New Year with less money worries.

"Be careful not to spend more than you can afford or you might still be paying for this Christmas by the time Christmas 2012 comes around."

For more information about Visa's financial literacy campaign, go to


National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), the country's largest bank by market value, has launched the UAE's first environmentally friendly credit card.

Co-branded with GEMS Education, the NBAD GEMS MasterCard Titanium card is made from 100 per cent biodegradable material and offers cardholders who are parents of GEMS students added value when it comes to paying school fees or making day-to-day payments.

"The GEMS card reflects NBAD's practice of teaming up with the right partners and working methodically to develop a product that delivers true value for consumers," says Suvo Sarkar, the general manager of consumer and elite banking at NBAD.

"In addition to the financial values it offers, this card contributes to sustainability principles, instils financial responsibility in cardholders and encourages them to be proactive within their community."

Benefits include up to an 11 per cent discount on advance payments of GEMS school fees, coupled with a zero per cent payment plan if tuition is paid with the card. Parents also receive an education protection coverage of up to Dh500,000 per child. There are no annual fees and the card offers 51 days of interest-free credit.

Go to for more information.