Holiday spending has been steadily increasing in recent years. In fact, the National Retail Federation shows that consumers spent around $929.5 billion during the 2022 holiday season. That number is expected to increase between 3 and 4 percent this year. From gift buying to holiday festivities and travel, this can easily be an expensive time of year.
Fortunately, there are many ways to save money, while still having a memorable holiday season. The following smart holiday spending tips offer great ideas for keeping costs low during this time.
1. Create a Holiday Budget
Diving into the holidays without a financial plan in place can quickly lead to overspending. Come up with a budget that covers all holiday-related costs. Depending on your plans, this might include gifts, travel, groceries for holiday meals, greeting cards, and decorations. Figure out how much you can afford to spend on holiday expenses, create a budget, and stick to it.
2. Think Outside the Gift Box
Gifts don’t have to be material items. Consider making personalized gifts, such as baked goods or homemade ornaments. Or you might give the gift of time. Plan to spend a special afternoon or evening with friends or family, especially those you don’t get to see much. This doesn’t have to include a dinner at a gourmet restaurant or another expensive place. Look for some fun and festive free or low-cost activities and events you can do together. Offer to spend time volunteering for a cause that’s dear to your loved ones. These kinds of thoughtful gifts create priceless memories.
3. Keep a Close Eye on Your Holiday Spending
Setting a holiday budget won’t do much good if you don’t keep track of your spending. As you make purchases, subtract those costs from your budget. You’ll see how much you have left to spend, allowing you to plan your remaining purchases carefully. Use spreadsheets or apps for a digital way to track your spending, so you can easily update your budget on your phone or tablet right away.
4. Compare Prices Before Purchasing
Many retailers offer holiday deals throughout the season. Whether you’re shopping in person or online, take time to do some price comparisons first. This gives you a good way to save money on gifts or other holiday items. Keep in mind that some stores offer to match prices if you find a lower price elsewhere. When comparing prices between online and in-store items, factor in added costs, like shipping. Lower online prices might end up costing you more overall if you have to pay for shipping, for example.
5. Stock Up on Holiday Meal Ingredients Slowly
Preparing holiday feasts can cost you a bundle in groceries if you purchase everything at once. Make a list of what you need, keep an eye out for supermarket sales, and pick up sale items during weekly shopping trips. This helps you lower the total amount you spend on your holiday meals. Remember to subtract these holiday-related expenses from your budget each time you go grocery shopping this season.
6. Spend Smart on Holiday Travel
Visiting family or friends or planning a relaxing getaway this season can make up a significant part of your holiday budget. If you’re flying, start exploring your flight options early. Airfare tends to increase the closer you get to the holidays. Book flights that depart or arrive at off-peak times to save money. For accommodations, look for deals on vacation rentals instead of booking a hotel. Depending on your travel plans, consider using ride-share services or public transportation rather than renting a car.
If your New Year’s resolutions include working on financial wellness, Spave is here to help you achieve your goals. Download the app today, and find out more about smart spending all year round.