As much as we love them, the holidays can also be a time of increased stress for many people. This year, we’ve all experienced higher anxiety levels and unexpected financial challenges, so we wanted to offer some tips to reduce your stress during the upcoming holiday shopping season.
Make a List, Set a Budget
It can be easy to get distracted by things you don’t need while holiday shopping, or to forget someone you need a gift for, forcing you to spend more at the last minute. Instead, spend some time on a list of everyone you need to get something for—jot down an idea or two for each recipient, and set a max dollar amount for each (there are free apps that can help you do this). Then stick to it.
This year, many of us learned to appreciate some of life’s simple pleasures; reflect that thinking in your gift choices. Focus on gifts that are small and thoughtful:
- People are continuing to spend more time at home, so consider items that will add to their comfort or convenience—favorite foods, scented candles, a cozy throw or even a subscription to a streaming video service. Shop locally when possible and you’ll also support your local community and reduce your carbon footprint.
- If you’ve picked up a new hobby during the pandemic, like crocheting, canning or woodworking, use your talents to create handmade gifts.
- We haven’t seen as much of loved ones as we might have liked, so personal gifts like framed photos, albums or scrapbooks will be appreciated more than ever. You can have favorite photos added to everything from pillows and blankets to mugs and more.
Preparation Pays Off
There are several ways you can avoid taking a big financial hit during the holiday shopping season:
- Save for it throughout the year. We offer a Holiday Club Savings account that you can contribute to automatically all year, so you have a nice sum set aside when the holidays roll around again.
- Spread out the expenses by shopping throughout the year, so all your purchases aren’t made in the last month or two. Store everything in a single spot at home so you know where it is when it’s time to start wrapping up.
If you plan to buy pricier items, spend some time pre-shopping to see if you can take advantage of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday sales.