In work meetings, in over-the-phone catching up with your best friend, in texts with your grandma, there’s one thing that always comes up when talking about this past year: what the hell. From start to finish, 2020 has been free-wheelin’, causing chaos, turning lives upside-down, and outdoing itself in a new way each month.
No, seriously. Every month. We wonder, can it get worse? Without fail, the answer is always yes.
Such rapid change has transformed the way many of us live our lives. Our new normal, or no normal, includes working from home, virtual learning, no more hugging, a lot of handwashing, and hopefully a bit of therapy. As we handle each new curveball, we’re learning new skills and throwing out old traditions that just don’t make sense.
Sometimes that’s out of necessity. Our typical day used to be full of activities that are now cancelled, postponed, or impossible. Other times, the disruption that is 2020 has made us realize some things just don’t need to be that way anymore.
One of those things, especially relevant as we chase the New Year, is breaking the bank during holiday shopping.
We’re used to going all-out for holidays regardless – we love to spoil, to see the excitement, to show how much we care by giving gifts. If we know our kid wants something badly, we’re going to make it happen.
Now, with so many of their other favorite things cancelled (baseball practice, trips to the movies with friends, school dances), it makes sense to feel even more pressured to make this holiday season one for the books. We want to make up for everything they’ve missed out on this year. Instinctually, we want to create a bright spot in a year that has had some very dark spots.
If there’s anything we know about gifts, though, it’s that they lose their luster after a little while. That toy that stole the show will soon be left in the corner, that doll will get a haircut it didn’t deserve, and that gaming system will be out-of-date before you can blink an eye. The joy they’ll bring is worth it – but don’t put yourself in a financial hole to make it happen.
2020 is a year of change, and it’s time to change up the way you shop for gifts this holiday season. Let us show you how to bring a smile to their face – without breaking the bank.
Know what you can afford.
Many of us have faced changes when it comes to employment. Some of us have taken our work home, juggling a million things throughout the day. But no doubt that some folks have found themselves underemployed – or just flat-out unemployed – as we face the upcoming holiday season.
When finances become tight, a budget is more important than ever. Once you’ve created yours, budget exactly how much you’re going to spend on gifts this year – and don’t go a penny over. Going houseless would be the worst gift of all.
Know what you want to give.
If creating a budget isn’t your strong suit, trying budgeting in reverse. Pick the items you want to gift this year and total up how much they’ll cost, at most. Because you’ll surely be doing your due diligence when it comes to getting the best price. That total will tell you exactly how much you need to save in order to make the holidays happen your way.
Now, the hard part is saving it. You can open a separate savings account to store the funds in, with automatic drafts being deposited in it each paycheck. If a side-hustle has become a necessity, you can dedicate some or all of that towards the extras you need to pay for. Or, if you like to keep things old-school, set up a piggy bank. It doesn’t have to be a ceramic pink pig – even a shoebox will do. As long as you’re not going in there and pinching out a couple bucks “here and there”.
Make use of the tools around you.
Holiday shopping should always include coupons. That’s a simple rule of life. Not making use of the coupons and deals that stores toss out left-and-right during the holidays should be illegal.
Okay, enough with the drama. Maybe couponing has never been a necessity before. Or maybe, you’ve never had time to track down what you need. But as with literally everything, this year is a different story. It’s never been simpler or easier to make use of the Internet to save yourself a little extra coin when you need it most.
Our coupons and deals are a great place to get started on your journey to saving money. With so many retailers listed, you can compare options or consolidate your shopping to one store. Check in regularly to stay on top of the best sales. Or, even easier, subscribe to our newsletter and get the best of the best right to your inbox. That’s one less thing for you to worry about.
Using coupons for the first time? Don’t be scared. It’s simpler than ever to use a scrabbled collection of letters and numbers to get a discount on your purchase. While sometimes you’ll have to copy and paste a code, most times, you click a link that will take you directly to the site and input the code for you automatically. You can’t afford not to use them.
Don’t sweat it.
If you use every resource you’ve got and still can’t make the dream gift happen, that’s ok. Go back and read that again. That’s ok. This year, we’re not beating ourselves up over material things we don’t need. We’re doing our best with what we have, hustling, working hard, but loving harder than ever. Eat an extra cookie and take the day off.