Low Budget Christmas Gifts: Celebrating the Holidays Comfortably
Sage Parker, Staff Writer
It’s no surprise that spending several months of the year quarantined has not only affected people emotionally, but financially as well. People have reported losing their jobs or suffering major cutbacks in order to accommodate the unfortunate situation covid-19 has placed them in. Covid-19 has caused widespread damage that is leaving families to play catch up. 54 percent of households with annual incomes below $100,000 report serious financial problems, compared with percent of households with incomes over $100,000. These are considerably high percentages considering in 2019, nearly 53 percent of Americans annual household income was less than $75,000.
As everyone knows, the holiday season is one of the most expensive times of the year, especially Christmas. The season is nationally known to be a time of giving. It gives us an opportunity to gather with family, share memories, laughs, and gifts; however, Christmas is going to look different for many families this year. According to 2019 research by lendedu, about 20% of Americans believe their Christmas spending will leave them in debt. People that experienced layoffs and cutbacks may experience trouble affording their regular Christmas traditions, forcing them to make a situation work with the means they possess.
Stacy, a close friend of mine, shared her family’s plan to exchange gifts in a way that is affordable for everyone. Stacy and her family plan to gift each other through an app called Elfster. The app provides each family member’s name, email address, and what they’re requesting as a gift. After the following information is submitted, the app generates the names and assigns each person to a family member as their Secret Santa. Stacy found this method sufficient because it allows everyone to get a gift, but avoids the hassle of buying multiple gifts. “My family are huge gift givers, and it sucks that we can’t celebrate Christmas how we normally would. We decided to find a system that works for us,” said Stacy.
Stacey’s family utilized one of many ways to effectively save money during considerably troubling times. With economic struggles more common than ever, discussing them with your family, especially before the holidays, can help organize a better way of spending. A helpful system is to make a Christmas budget of what you want to buy, and see if you can afford it. Using a spreadsheet or a budgeting app will help keep you on track. Another useful way to save money is using coupons. You can find deals with coupons on items you might want this season. Lastly, take advantage of store points by signing up for loyalty programs. By joining programs at grocery stores, gas stations, and retail stores, you become eligible for discounts or free gifts. Christmas as we know it will be different for everyone in some way this year. However, find what works for you and your family to comfortably celebrate the holidays.