It may be a bit of an understatement to suggest this holiday season looks nothing like what we planned last year. Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, everything from our everyday lives to special events has been interrupted or entirely cancelled, and improvements in our actions and lasting financial effects from layoffs, company closures, and more are likely to continue through the holiday season of 2020 and beyond. If you felt it was tricky to find out how to save money during the holidays in a regular year, this year would be another challenge.
With financial and social pressures niggling away, even the most committed holiday planner is likely to feel daunted, but there are some measures that can be taken to minimize Christmas tension and to keep your costs down.
Here are our top holiday finance management tips, from smart shopping tips and ways to save, to why you should give priority to the important stuff this year.
1. Setup a budget for your holiday spending
Draw up a budget for your holiday expenses, not just gifts, but additional food, drink and socialization spending. Incorporate this holiday portion of your budget into the rest of the household budget, so that over a period of months you can control the cumulative impact the holiday spending has on your finances.
To determine what you want to purchase, write down a list, and use your funds to see if you can afford it. You can be assisted with the math by making a spreadsheet or using a budgeting app like the KliQr App. Split the list into categories such as toys, decorations, drinks, gifts, and other possible expenditures for holidays.
Create your list, just like Santa, and check it twice. Make sure significant costs are not ignored. By counting each item, prioritize your spending so that you understand what you should buy first and what you should not care about.
Try not to allow yourself to be manipulated into spending more than you can afford, including by your children or close relatives.
2. Find an extra source of income
In order to assist with the heavy holiday load, department stores and other service providers often employ seasonal employees. These companies provide easy preparation to get you immersed in the work. Sometimes you will feel better with an extra bit of money to feel more secure during your holiday shopping.
A simple way to earn some extra money is also offered by freelancing. That could be logo design, computer repairs, house/office repairs, copywriting, marketing, etc. A strong resume, targeted LinkedIn profile, and solid portfolio will help you find, or even create, those opportunities.
Many apps and websites specialize in reselling things you no longer want if you want to find a way to declutter. Without even leaving the comfort of your home, you can sell clothes, accessories, gadgets, and more all from your phone.
3. Buy Items Early
Do not wait until the last minute if you order holiday purchases online. Otherwise in order to get the goods on time, you will either have to pay outrageously high delivery costs or the orders will come too late for the holidays. Start your online shopping early to prevent such lose-lose scenarios.
Do not wait until it is too late if you go to a brick and mortar store, or else you can see an “out of stock” sign on the shelves of the items. Numerous retail stores offer layaway possibilities,
Many retail stores have layaway options, layaway is a purchasing method in which a consumer places a deposit on an item to “lay it away” for later pick-up when they are financially positioned to pay off the balance, so you can buy your gifts early and keep them in the store until you are ready to pick them up. Most shops also have payment plans, so you do not have to pay all at once for it.
4. Get Creative with your gifts
The coronavirus pandemic showed people the immense value of friends and family, and many people missed social contact rather than material possessions or activities like going to the gym in complete lockdown.
Your shopping list is made. Now it is time to try to balance your (probably lower than usual) budget with all the gifts that you want to send. This is not the best-ever gift-giving year. Concentrate instead on smaller, more meaningful or creative gifts.
So, don’t forget this and think differently this year about Christmas gifts. You can schedule a walk or a day out with a friend, permitting restrictions rather than exchanging gifts.