With inflation majorly impacting consumer budgets, 48% of Americans admit they plan to spend less money this holiday season compared to last, according to a new survey by Credit Karma.
The financial constraint families are facing between increased prices, a looming recession, and the risk of being laid off is changing the way Americans are shopping. Credit Karma found 70% of Americans are relying on the annual deals offered by companies like Target and Amazon to afford their holiday expenses this year.
Target recently announced it would be offering four times as many offers than last year, including up to 50% off toys during its deal days running from Oct. 6–8. The retailer is also offering deals on gift cards, which will majorly benefit over a third of Americans who rely on cash and gifts to make ends meet.
But even with all these deals and discounts, you’ll still want to watch your wallet since inflation has yet to abate. Poulomi Damany, SVP and GM of Credit Karma Money, shared tips with Fortune to help you avoid overspending this holiday season.
Re-factor your budget
If you’re concerned about not being able to afford presents for your loved ones this year, you’re not alone—over a third of Americans are unable to afford gifts this year due to inflation, per Credit Karma. Consider revisiting your budget ahead of time to set a plan for spending, according to Damany.
Once you’ve determined exactly how much money you are able to comfortably spend this year, write up a list of everyone you plan to purchase a gift for, and divide your budget by the number of people. This will give you the average amount you can spend on each person.
If you want to splurge on someone special, Damany suggests gifting them a one-of-a-kind handmade gift as an alternative. She says this not only cuts down on spending, it also makes the receiver feel thought of.
Avoid impulse buys
Ignoring an item you feel compelled to bring home is easier said than done. To stay within your budget, make a list of the items you want to buy and sleep on it. If something ends up being more expensive than you’re comfortable paying, Damany says wait to purchase it in case a deal comes along. If it’s a must-buy, then go back to your budget and see where you can cut costs.
Starting your shopping now also gives you extra time to think over a large purchase so you don’t impulsively spend more than your budget allows. Because prices typically increase after the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals end, Damany recommends taking advantage of those early Target and Amazon sales and spreading your shopping over longer time periods.
Bonus: Shopping with a website that offers cash back can be an easy way to get more bang for your buck. A few dollars saved each shopping trip can add up quickly over the entire holiday season.
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