- With the cost of goods rocketing, consumers can expect to pay more for festive gifts this year.
- If you’re worried about over-spending, we recommend making a plan BEFORE you hit the shops.
- Follow these 3 tips to help you spend wisely, stay within budget, and keep your financial wellbeing in check.
The holiday season can be a stressful time for workers (and their bank accounts). This year, in particular, the gift-giving season may be more stressful than usual.
Salesforce predicts that consumers will pay 20% more for their holiday gifts this year as retailers and manufacturers face an additional $223 billion in the cost of goods.
IBM Institute for Business Value found that many people still find themselves in a difficult financial situation. Almost half (49%) of global respondents said their household expenses increased over the last year—but their incomes are not keeping pace.
IBM Institute for Business Value also found that holiday shopping budgets are 13% lower than pre-pandemic levels.
It pays off to be proactive
To keep your financial (and mental) wellbeing in check, we suggest you get a head start and have a solid game plan in place for your holiday shopping.
Now is the perfect time to start planning for this holiday season for a few reasons:
- You still have a couple of months to save up.
- If you are clear about how many gifts you need to buy (and for whom), you can take advantage of upcoming sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday to buy the perfect gift for your loved ones.
- Supply chain disruptions continue to be a widespread problem. If you want to make sure you get everything on your list, you’ll need to get a jumpstart to your shopping.
While you may already have the perfect gift idea in mind, before you splurge on any one item it is wise for you to go through the following steps to avoid spending guilt once the season is over.
1. Set a budget (and stick to it)
Whether you’re planning to get 3 gifts or 10 (or more), it’s important that you set a realistic budget for yourself.
This is the best way to avoid overspending.
You first need to set the amount of money you are willing to spend on all gifts. Once you have that number in mind, you need to divide it by the total amount of gifts you plan to get. That will give you an average price limit for each gift.
This is the easy part…the hard part is sticking to the budget (but this is the most important to prevent your financial health from suffering).
Budgeting is especially important for those who want to travel during the holiday season to be close to family and loved ones.
2. Make your own list
If expenses are a key concern for you this holiday season, you may want to follow Santa’s lead and create a “naughty and nice” list.
Cutting down on the number of people you want to give a gift to this year can represent a huge financial relief.
For those that don’t make the cut, consider giving them something homespun:
- a jar of your best cookies
- a heartfelt letter
- a homemade candle
- a homemade natural body scrub
- a bookmark
- coupons for a homecooked meal or free babysitting.
3. Hunt for deals
Whether you decide to hit the mall to search for sales, shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, or search online for coupons and discount codes, starting your shopping early increases the chances that you will find great deals for specific items you want to purchase.
Financial stress can negatively impact mental health. To prevent anxiety and feelings of guilt this holiday season (and the months that follow), get a jump start on your shopping.
The most important thing is for you to set a realistic budget and to try and pay for everything with cash. If you plan on using your credit card to purchase gifts, make sure that you have enough money to pay off the credit when your payment is due.