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November 12, 2020

Five Tips to Save Money on Holiday Shopping in 2020

It’s no secret that the holiday season can be a doozy for the wallet. With all the seasonal traditions, like decorating, meals and gift-giving, you may feel like you have to choose between not participating in the holidays and overspending beyond your means. We’ve got five tips to help you save money on holiday shopping — without skimping on the joy or the fun!

1. Establish a budget and stick to it.

During the holiday season, your heart might grow three sizes, but don’t let the holiday spirit inspire you to be overzealous when shopping. People tend to spend more during this time of year, so remember the importance of budgeting. By making a list (and checking it twice) you can make sure your heart doesn’t run away with your head, leaving you to play catch up on the added debt in 2021.

2. Be creative with low-cost or homemade gifts.

If you need to spend less on gifts this year, don’t feel like your expression of love is limited due to finances. Gifts don’t have to be costly to be meaningful. Thoughtful gifts can go a long way, such as:

  • Time or service: You could offer to give of your time by creating “coupons” your giftee can redeem for various things, such as a home-cooked meal, night off from doing the dishes, or any other creative get-out-of-chore-free card you can think of.
  • Words of affirmation: Share words of encouragement through a handwritten note or journal.
  • Homemade goodies: If you’ve got a special skill, you can most likely use it to create a low-cost but thoughtful gift. Can you bake? Make some homemade special treats. Are you an artist? Use your talents to share the love.

3. Spread the love (and financial burden) of gift-giving.

Do you have a large extended family? Consider having a conversation as a family about gifts in 2020 as a way to save money on holiday shopping. Maybe you can agree on spending limits, assign gift/giftee pairs so everyone’s not obligated to get a gift for everyone, or discuss other alternatives to your regular traditions. Two fun ideas to rein in spending but not joy:

  • Secret Santa: Each person draws the name of a family member and is in charge of getting a gift for that person, and the group decides on a modest price range for the gifts. Tip: To help out the extended family, create a list of what each person likes, that way it’s easier to get gifts that aren’t guesses. Include easy favorites for each family member, like favorite candies, board games, hobbies and interests.
  • Mall blitz: Assign giftees to each person and establish a maximum spending limit, set a timer and go! Everyone has limited time to find a gift and actively shops at the same time. For example, allow the entire mall to be in play and agree to meet back at the food court in exactly one hour. This can add fun and action to the shopping process, while keeping everyone’s individual spending down. You can adapt this to a virtual event, too! Just pick a date and time, choose a specific store(s) to shop online and check in via video chat while you shop.

4. Create memories with experiences over things.

Consider doing a family activity as a new tradition, rather than focusing on gifts. This may look a little different during 2020 due to social distancing requirements, but you can think about what activities your family enjoys that are still feasible during the current environment. For example, if your family loves the cinema, consider setting up a family movie night theater-style, with all the candy, popcorn and treats included. Create a firepit (if local laws allow) in your backyard and roast s’mores and share stories. Do a family photo scavenger hunt around the neighborhood. Have a board game or video game tournament where the winner gets the last slice of that apple pie everyone’s vying for. Sing karaoke in the living room, celebrity-impression style. Whatever fun looks like to your household, think about including it in the festivities.

5. Remember your local businesses.

During COVID-19, many local businesses have closed or are struggling, so it’s all the more important to continue supporting them over the holidays. According to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast, online shopping is expected to grow 25-35% in the 2020-2021 holiday season, as the ongoing pandemic keeps people at home.1 Whether you plan to shop online, in person or a mix of both, we encourage you to consider supporting a local business through your purchases and patronage. Learn more about ways to support local businesses.

Do you have more tips on how to save money on holiday shopping to share? Let us know by messaging us on Facebook or Instagram! We’d love to hear your input.

1Deloitte. “A Tale of Two Holiday Seasons: As a K-Shaped Recovery Model Emerges, Consumer Spending Heavily Bifurcated.” Sept. 15, 2020. Accessed Oct. 27, 2020.

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