Holiday shopping is starting earlier than ever this year in anticipation of the shipping delays and supply chain issues. The average American will spend between $1,000 to $2,000 on holiday gifts each year according to the National Retail Federation.
With the holidays just around the corner, we’re sharing our top nine ways to control holiday spending this year.
1. Save Monthly Throughout the Year.
Our favorite way to lessen the blow of the holiday budget is to save money throughout the year in anticipation of the holiday splurge. Set aside a different account and auto-transfer money every month. You won’t notice it’s gone and by the time you get to December, you’ll have a nice cushion to draw from!
2. Consider Experiences as Gifts.
After 18 months of the pandemic, we’ve learned that experiences are more valued than things and time is more valued than money. Give your loved ones the gift of time with each other for Christmas. Play tickets, movie tickets, sporting events, etc, can be great experiences!
3. Shop Throughout the Year.
Do you ever see items throughout the year that remind you of someone on your holiday gift list? Start a tote of gifts that you buy throughout the year (or when they’re on sale) and keep them until you need them. This can be a great way to spread out the spending over time, while also making sure the gifts are meaningful and not just buying them to buy them!
4. Be Realistic About Your Gift List.
Do you really need to buy gifts for all 16 of your nieces and nephews? This is the year to look at your gift list and really determine who should stay on the gift list and who can go. Just because you’ve always bought in the past, doesn’t mean you have to!
5. Protect Yourself.
Don’t waste money by opening yourself up to credit card fraud, identity theft, or financial scams. Be vigilant about protecting yourself and your finances by limiting your card exposure, never giving out your personal information, and watching your accounts carefully.
6. Consider Handmade Gifts.
What talents do you have that could be giftable? Photography? Art and drawing? Woodworking? You could create really nice, personal gifts with your talents!
7. Be Open About Gift Expectations.
There are likely people in your life who say “you don’t need to get me anything” or “I buy everything I want.” It might be both a stress relief and a financial relief to actually take them seriously and not gift them anything!
8. Shop Smart!
This may go without saying, but use holiday sales and coupons to your advantage. Sales are plentiful this time of year, so be sure to check prices and optimize price match policies as well! Being smart about shopping also means being smart about “buy more, save more” sales and asking yourself if you really need to spend more.
9. Give (and Request) Practical Gifts.
Consider giving gifts that your recipients may actually need in the future. For kids, it might mean new baseball spikes or a hockey net. These are things that you (or their parents) would likely buy for them anyway because they need them.
The holidays are full of energy, excitement, and anticipation. Keep your stress in control by keeping your spending in control!