BLOOMINGTON, IL. Nov. 1, 2022- With inflation remaining near a 40-year high, many Americans are making adjustments to their budget. A survey by COUNTRY Financial found 52% of Americans say the overall state of the economy has caused them to cut back on spending.
This doesn’t mean you have to cancel Christmas, but you might need to get creative with your holiday budget this year. These financial tips for the holiday season can help keep your holiday budget in line.
- Tweak the holiday to-do list
Start by making a list of all of the holiday activities you have planned this year with their estimated costs. That includes buying gifts, hosting, attending events, and traveling. If you set aside holiday savings throughout the year, this is the time to see if the numbers align with your plans. If you didn’t account for inflation or you underestimated prices, here’s where you can get creative to trim costs when creating your budget for the holidays:
- Suggest a gift exchange where you draw names instead of buying gifts for everyone in your extended family.
- Host a holiday brunch or potluck instead of a cocktail party.
- Look for family friendly holiday events like tree lightings that can be both festive and free.
- If attending the Nutcracker is a tradition you can’t give up, consider a matinee show or a performance from a youth dance academy, which can be less expensive.
- Consider a family road trip to Grandma’s instead of flying this year to save on holiday travel expenses.
- Avoid credit cards and buy now, pay later apps
When used wisely, credit cards can provide many benefits like fraud protection, cash back, and points, but it’s easy to get into the habit of swiping and paying later during the holiday sale madness. It’s even easier to spread out payments for items you can’t afford today through buy now, pay later apps. But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s financially healthy. It’s very easy to get in over your head between the combination of credit cards and buy now, pay later services. Paying with cash during the holidays is one way to keep your shopping budget on track and control impulse buying during the holiday extravaganzas.
- Maintain the 50-30-20 rule
One of the best ways to ensure you stay on financial track this holiday season is by maintaining the 50-30-20 rule. This is a rule you should abide by on a regular basis. It means 50% of your income should go towards your fixed expenses such as mortgage and food, 20% should go towards your savings, including retirement and an emergency fund, and 30% should go towards things you want, including vacations and entertainment. Following this rule will help ensure you’re not overspending in the wrong places or spending what you don’t have.
Try our budget calculator to keep you on track throughout the year!
- Ask for a raise and utilize your employee benefits.
With labor shortages hitting many employers hard, asking for a raise this time of year may be easier than ever. Citing inflation is a good way to start that conversation. Don’t forget about the matching programs your company offers, as well as the various benefits and discounts available to you as an employee.
Finally, consider creating a long-term strategy. While these steps may help combat the effects of inflation today and your holiday spending, the larger impact may be on our long-term financial goals. Many Americans may end up saving less for their future if they don’t implement thoughtful strategies and have a plan in place. Working with a professional to review your financial goals might be one of the smartest moves this holiday season.
To talk with a local COUNTRY Financial representative about this topic, please reach out to one of COUNTRY Financial’s Colorado agencies in Fort Collins (970) 221-9655, North Denver (303) 940-6864 or South Denver (303) 368-5202.