Holiday spending is one of the many things that the health crisis would affect this year. And now that the holidays are fast approaching, people are now beginning to see a shift in the way they spend money during the holidays. The pandemic has changed the way people manage their finances and the holidays will be impacted as well.
Christmas is usually the time where you create a list of people you want to buy gifts for. It can be family and close friends. They can even be colleagues and other people in the office. But the health crisis has changed all that. Spending is not what it used to be with all the challenges people faced in the past few months. This is why holiday spending could be a little different from what it used to be. Here are a few of those changes you can expect.
Fewer people will be buying gifts this holiday season
Business Insider shares that about 38% of people surveyed plan to spend less over the holidays. This is one of the major financial shift this coming holiday season. Normally, the holidays is easily one of the most expensive times of the year. A lot of retailers prepare for it as people not only spend for themselves but for their family and friends as well.
However, for this year, a lot of people are struggling financially due to the effects of the global pandemic. As the health crisis swept through the world and pushed the health care system to its absolute capacity, states were forced to put down stay at home orders. This meant people had to stay home which forced businesses to adapt. What this meant for a lot of workers were unemployment and even high medical bills especially for the ones hit with the virus.
That being said, a lot of Americans are trying to make do with a very small income, if any. You might have been forced to stretch your emergency fund over a longer period of time just for essentials. This makes it a lot more difficult for people to spend on gifts over the holidays. It could drastically go down or some might not even have money to spend on gifts.
Some people are still paying off previous holiday debt
Holiday spending is common and considered an expensive time of the year. And this was the case in the previous year. USA Today shared that Americans spent over $1,000 during the holidays last year. Although this was pre-pandemic times, the spread and talk about the Coronvirus were already starting. But that did not stop people from spending for the holidays.
That holiday debt they incurred and the financial struggle a lot of people had to go through in the past few months was not a good mix. This led to some people still trying to repay holiday expenses they made in the past year. It is one of the reasons why people would think twice about splurging again this year for Christmas.
Holiday spending on travel will likely go down
The pandemic forced a lot of people to stay indoors and for the most part, this is still encouraged. The less contact you have with other people, the lower the potential spread of the virus. Even as the economy is slowly opening up again, a lot of people still choose to stay indoors if possible. And as the holiday season draws near, this will manifest itself in the travel plans over the holidays.
Family gatherings play a big part over the holidays but as people choose to give up travel, this could take a dip. A lot of people would put off traveling this time of the year because of the virus. This means traveling to see your parents or other family members is off the list. More than just the health issue, traveling is also quite expensive especially if you have not made plans yet. Prices for plane tickets tend to go up as the holiday draws near.
One option you can explore for this holiday season is an on-line get-together. It will be a lot different from what you are used to. But it is the next best thing if you want to see people you love over the holidays. You can work on a schedule that works for everyone and you can even eat all at the same time. Catch up online to lower the risk of getting the virus.
Christmas decoration expenses could go up
Holiday spending for a number of things this season will significantly go down but Christmas decorations could be an exception. Since a lot of people would be staying at home, getting a feel of the holidays usually meant decorating the whole house. This means that people would find more sense in spending on decorations since they will simply be at home for Christmas.
What this means is that the demand for holiday decor could go up. But if you choose to splurge on decors, it is a good idea to look at what you have first. There is a good chance that you have a few decors tucked away inside a box somewhere at home. Check what works especially with the lights before buying new ones. If you see that they are no longer safe and the wires are exposed, it is best to get new ones. You do not want to risk any avoidable fire hazards at home
Tips to shop better
Holiday spending will not completely go away. There will still be instances where you want to send gifts to family and friends. When this happens, it is ideal to shop online. But when you do have to go to a physical store, here are a few reminders you need to consider.
Fewer trips to the stores, the better
If you have to go out, try and limit the trips you have to make. To do this, you can do your shopping all at once. Get a list of the things you need to buy, identify where you need to get them, and plan ahead. Know the place and even the store you have to visit to lessen the time inside the mall looking for items to buy.
Choose open-air market
If you have the option of going to an open-air market to buy what you need, that is better than an enclosed mall. Of course, you still need to observe minimum health protocols such as wearing a face mask and observing social distancing. But the open-air lowers the chances of contracting the virus. Just make sure that the place you go to is not crowded as well.
Call ahead to reserve the items
If you have the chance to call ahead and reserve the items you need, then do so. This will help you cut the time you have to spend outside the house. You simply go to the store, pick up the item you reserved, pay, and you are done. Being able to confirm if the item is available and reserving it on the day you are there drastically reduces the time you spend outdoors.
Holiday spending will be a lot different this year because of the challenges brought about by the health crisis. But this does not mean that Christmas is canceled. You can still celebrate the season but it will be a lot different from the past years. Remember that you can still enjoy the holidays without necessarily breaking the bank and increasing your risk of getting sick.