The holidays can become outrageously expensive, and with inflation creating tight budgets for so many families, the holidays may be extra stressful this year. The good news is a lot of people are in the same boat and tamping down holiday spending will be the norm versus the exception in 2022. Still – the holidays are upon us, so it’s important to budget the money you will need to spend and stretch those dollars as far as they can go.
Create your bottom line
Everything needs a limit. What budget will keep you in the black and stop you from racking up unnecessary debt? Carefully consider this alongside higher grocery bills for the month due to entertaining, holiday baking, feasts, etc. Plus, you may be looking at added expenditures for gift wrapping supplies, shipping costs and tips or bonuses to helpful service providers in your life. Commit to the amount you can spend and then divvy it up among the people you will be gifting this year.
Start shopping early
Gone are the days when you could wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals – not to say those aren’t still available. Yet, many journalists have crunched the numbers over the years and determined you would be wise to do extensive comparison shopping to know whether or not you’re truly getting the deal being advertised. Take the time to do the research now and get an idea of the kinds of items you want to buy. Once you have your baseline, look closely at what’s being advertised and make sure it’s truly saving you.
Keep yourself honest
Make a list of all your purchases and track your spending. Whether it’s on a digital spreadsheet or printed out, every time you fire up the laptop to begin some online shopping or get to the store, keep that list open and available. It will allow you to see what you’ve spent and make adjustments where needed. Staying on track will be the best gift of the season!
Look for discounts and free shipping codes
While all of our inboxes are overloaded, it might be worthwhile to sign up for promotion alerts and newsletters with the brands you love. Doing a search for promo code + the brand’s name can also reveal codes that can be used at checkout to get you a discount. People are great about sharing that kind of information on the internet.
Experiences over presents
Consider giving the gift of an experience, that everyone can enjoy together, over a physical present that can be opened. Maybe it’s a movie admission and snacks or an open skate at an ice-skating rink. It can help with your budgeting, and you get the bonus of enjoying time together.
Consider less expensive, homemade gifts
Particularly in tight budget years, never underestimate the power of a homemade gift. One of the best things you can give those you love is your time. Could you hit up the craft store and upcycle something meaningful to the family? Could you create ornaments that your loved one will cherish for years to come? Anything sentimental will always hit the mark.
White elephants in lieu of individual gifts
Try and lessen the number of people on your list by agreeing with partygoers, friends or family members to purchase one nicer gift for everyone to partake in a white elephant game. Not only is it less expensive than buying for multiple people, but a gift swap also adds fun to any party.
Looking ahead to next year
Yes, we know that sounds silly, but use this holiday shopping season as a learning experience. Opening an Additional savings account and labeling it “holiday shopping” will give you a jump start for 2023. Go a step further and set up weekly or monthly automatic transfers to build up that holiday shopping nest egg for next year. The money will become a regular debit out of your account, and you won’t miss it. Better yet, if it goes straight from your paycheck via direct deposit, it’s money you never even saw.
Give your savings an extra lift
With Solarity’s certificates and money market accounts, you can give your savings an added boost. Both typically offer higher rates than traditional savings accounts, so your funds will grow even faster to help pay for next year’s holiday shopping.
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