You might have heard the term “inflation” mentioned a lot this year. Inflation refers to when the price of most or all goods and services available in society goes up. You could also say that the value of a dollar has gone down since it won’t buy you as much.
The inflation rate is possible to track, and there’s no denying that goods and services have gotten more expensive in 2022. That’s on the minds of some Americans entering the holiday season who want to purchase gifts for their loved ones.
This raises the question of whether inflation has made holiday spending difficult or impossible for U.S. residents this year. We’ll answer that in the following article.
The issue facing some Americans who want to buy holiday gifts for family members is that their salaries have not increased at the same rate as inflation. Ideally, if you need more money around the holidays, you might ask your boss for a raise. However, that does not necessarily mean they will give it to you.
Instead, if you need money, you might approach a credit union or bank about getting a loan. Christmas loans are common if you need a fast cash infusion.
However, if you choose to go this route, you’ll need a plan for paying back that loan after the holidays. Even if you get a favorable rate, you don’t want to keep paying interest on that loan indefinitely.
Less Expensive Gifts
Maybe you look at getting a loan and decide the interest the lending entity wants is prohibitive. Another option might be to buy your family members and friends less expensive gifts.
If inflation has put you in a position where the gifts your loved ones want aren’t in your price range, you can ask them if there are cheaper gifts they might be happy with instead. For instance, if some of your family members want clothing, you might buy items for them at second-hand stores or ones that aren’t name-brand. If one of your kids wants a new TV, you might purchase one that’s a lesser-known brand.
Your family members and other gift recipients should realize that the spirit of the season is not about materialism. It’s the thought that matters just as much as the actual gift.
Eat at Home
Other Americans might plan to go out for fancy meals around the holidays. Inflation has made dining out more expensive, though.
U.S. residents who feel that meal prices when dining out are now out of their price range because of inflation can purchase grocery items and cook a special meal at home instead. You can look for recipes online and prepare a meal with love.
Don’t Spend Beyond Your Means
For most Americans, inflation has caused some belt-tightening. That does not necessarily mean that holiday spending is impossible, though. You should be able to spend some money during the year’s closing weeks. You just need to budget and avoid buying anything too extravagant.
Buying grocery items to prepare meals at home makes sense if dining out seems out of your price range. You might also dine out but purchase some of the less expensive menu items.
You can look into getting a holiday loan from a credit union or bank, but only if you have a concrete plan to repay that money after the holidays. You don’t want to carry that debt for very long because of the interest the lending entity will charge you.
You can also ask loved ones if they have requests for less expensive presents than their first choices. They might be a little disappointed that they can’t get pricey gifts, but they should understand if you explain the reality of your financial situation.
Holiday spending is not out of reach for most Americans, even with rampant inflation. You just need to avoid out-of-control spending.
Name: Michael Bertini
Job Title: Consultant