The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our daily lives, and as the holidays get closer, you may be rethinking your traditional gathering or trimming your budget in an effort to save more money. You’re not alone.
A study from financial consultant Deloitte reports that the average U.S. shopper is planning to spend $1,387 during this holiday season. That's down by 7% from 2019. And budgets are shifting from gifts to items like furnishings and decorations that help make home celebrations more special.
Joanna: Just buying gifts for immediate family. But working on Christmas cards to mail to everyone I can't see this year! The cost of a card and a stamp is less than $1, but it says a lot.
Linda: Place a heartfelt short note, a long letter to a specific person or just a general memorable saying in a frame! Wrap it in a paper bag with a cloth ribbon made out of something worn that you were going to get rid of or repurpose. The cloth can be any material.
Elizabeth: I give a neighbor who's on a tight fixed income my Publix gift cards from getting a flu shot. He loves them!
Susan: There are too many photos on our phones and computers. Time to print them for families to display! Frames don't have to be expensive.
Joanne: I bought my children a few books.
Vicki: When my kids were little, they would shop for Christmas at the dollar store. They would think carefully about each person and find something that person would like. They get really creative with the challenge. And they always found something for everyone on their lists.
Suzanne: Breakfast in a box. Add in jams, syrup, biscuit and pancake mixes (could be homemade) coffee, tea — really anything to make a great breakfast.
Rosemarie: Homemade coupons to give to family and friends. Because the gift of time is most valuable. Here are some ideas: Date night, home-cooked meal, errand running, coffee date, babysitting, meal delivery in time of need, grocery pick up, girl's night with a movie in pj's at home, homemade cookies on demand, game night or home spa day!
Emily: I am copying my late mother's cookbook for my children.
Kate: I took clippings from my Great Aunt's Hydrangea bush and rooted them. Everyone gets one this year! I only paid for the pot and soil!
Denise: I re-learned how to play my flute during the pandemic (40 years after quitting). My sister chose a song with sentimental meaning. I practiced it and played it live on Zoom for her 50th birthday last month.
Mary Ann: Help an elderly person change light bulbs to fixtures they can't reach. Take them to shop for groceries. Offer to dust and vacuum their rooms for them.
Brenda: If you have elderly people in your family on a fixed income, get other family members together to chip in and pay their heating and electric bill for three months.
Suzanne: Once my child turned 13, I told him he was old enough to get me a Christmas present every year — and every year I want the same gift from him. He has all year to do something nice for a non-family member and write a one-page essay on what he did to show love to another. I save each year's 'essay' in a binder I will keep forever and will hopefully pass onto his children someday.
Joanne: We're all giving the rest of our money away to charities this year. It's been a rough year for a lot of people.