Stretching Your Holiday Dollars

With inflation worldwide hitting 40-year highs, many shoppers are looking to keep their spending in check this #holiday season. Full of festivities and gift-giving, it’s already an expensive time of year, and you may have to stretch your dollars to make it memorable.

The first thing to do is set a holiday budget, writes Kentucky State University extension specialist Joanne Bankston. Include everything you’ll need to make the holidays happen: food, gifts, decorations, travel, greeting cards and other necessities.

Make a gift list, ballparking what you want to spend on each gift. Shop early to get the best deals, and get gift receipts if they’re available. Think creatively to save: Someone on your list might like a gift card or tickets to a show instead of merchandise.

Make something to give if you can bake, sew, knit or craft. A tin of homemade cookies, a jar of preserves or a handknit scarf will be more memorable and relatively inexpensive to make. You can also give the gift of time by helping out with chores, #organizing or decorating.

If you’re hosting a holiday gathering, you can save money by asking guests to bring a dish to pass or the beverage of their choice. Better yet, assign certain menu items to specific guests to avoid duplication.

Watch out for the hidden costs of the holidays, too, says DCU. Gift wrapping can add up, so get creative with used maps or newspaper. Shipping is another line item, and energy costs can spike if you have a lot of twinkling lights. Finally, you’ll likely have the temptation to treat yourself as you shop for others. Stick to your shopping list!

For good deals on lightly used household goods, holiday decorations, clothing and other goods, visit a #thrift or #secondhand shop supplied by #donations to ClothingDonations.org. Not only can you save money, but you’ll also contribute to essential veterans’ programs at the most critical time of year.

However much you spend, remember that interest rates are going up. To keep from overspending, pay any credit card balances in full every month, or use cash or debit cards instead. You may find it easier to limit spending when you use cash. Happy #shopping!

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