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Gift-Giving on a COVID-19 Budget

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to make your gift list and check it twice – but given the financial hardships brought on by COVID-19, this season may look different for many families. According to a study from Deloitte, 38 percent of consumers have already said they plan to spend less this holiday season than in years past.

Make the holidays memorable while staying within your budget with these simple and useful tips.

How to Find Room in Your Budget

When you need to find extra money, the best advice is to cut back where you can.

Fixed expenses like your mortgage aren’t flexible. You can still drastically reduce other expenses like groceries and utilities by cutting back on what you buy and adjusting the thermostat, or being mindful of wasting water.

You can also challenge yourself by not eating out during the week, skipping the daily coffee purchase, and avoiding splurges on items outside of your immediate needs.

Reallocating your funds is a practice of being intentional with your finances to make your money count for the holidays.

Creative, Inexpensive Ways to Give

If you’ve cut back where you can, and your funds for gift-giving are slim, start thinking outside the box.  

  • Think experience, not things. Spending time with a loved one is the greatest gift you can give. You could send your loved one an online invitation for a virtual cooking class. If you want to spend time together while staying socially distanced, you could drop off their favorite drink and snacks at their door and send them an invitation to meet you on a video platform like Zoom to catch up or play a nostalgic game together.

  • Get Artsy. If you enjoy being creative, consider purchasing small canvases and a few paint colors for an art day. Better yet, share your talent with your loved one and invite them to spend some time outdoors in the park or the backyard, paint a matching canvas, and trade when you’re done. It’s easy, inexpensive, and makes a unique gift. It can also be done over Zoom too.    

  • Try something outdoorsy. If your loved one enjoys being outdoors, buy them a water bottle and a fun pair of socks and plan a day on the trails or a bike ride in an unexplored park.

Each of these ideas offers a memorable way to celebrate the holidays, and it’s budget-friendly.

Shifting Focus When You’re Without Funds

All financial situations are different, and for some, the pandemic has been more troubling than anticipated. For individuals or families struggling to make ends meet in general, don’t dig yourself into a deeper hole this holiday season.

Be honest with yourself and your family, and use this time to prioritize your immediate needs and work towards getting back on track.

If you have children, mark this year to start new traditions by focusing on experiences like taking Christmas light tours, having a holiday picnic together outdoors, finding free holiday cooking classes online, or trying new holiday recipes together.

There is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holidays. Just make sure it’s within your budget, and it brings you joy.