Create a holiday budgetThe last month of the year offers many opportunities to splurge. Prevent unfettered spending by setting a “do-not-exceed” dollar amount for holiday-related expenses. Include all purchases tied to the season, from gift giving to refreshing your holiday wardrobe, buying decorations, entertaining, and more.
Track your expensesA budget is only useful when you track your expenses against it. Keep receipts for purchases and tally expenses at the end of each shopping excursion. Check your totals to make sure you’re not exceeding your budget — and are prepared to make returns if you have.
Manage your expectationsThe COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect global supply chains, causing disruptions in many different and surprising product categories. Merchants of all sizes will have product shortages and may offer less merchandise choice overall. Prices will be higher too, driven by increased demand, inventory shortages, and higher than normal inflation. And don’t expect fire sales as we get closer to the holidays. Retailers will be unlikely to discount products that are flying off the shelves.
Plan for increased shipping costsIn addition to inflated prices on general merchandise, shipping costs are spiking upward as well. The U.S. Postal Service has announced price hikes, and other major shipping carriers are also raising their prices to counteract higher oil prices and staffing shortages.
Give differentlyIf the gifts you want to buy are in short supply or “things” aren’t your thing, consider ticking off your gift list by giving experiences. Local restaurants are eager to make up for months of lost business. Likewise, theaters and sporting events are finally opening up and need to fill seats that have been empty too long. You could also consider giving financial gifts to your loved ones such as a partially funded savings account, Roth IRA, savings bond, or an appointment with a financial advisor. And finally, charitable donations are becoming more popular as holiday gifts, particularly if the non-profit is meaningful to the recipient. Ellie Stubbs is a Financial Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC in Barre, Vermont. She specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 18 years. To contact her, ameripriseadvisors.com/ellie.stubbs, (802) 622-8060, 14 North Main Street, Suite 2001, Barre, VT 05641. Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser. © 2021 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.
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