By: James Flippin
Original post published by SoFi and republished with permission.
Prepare For A Pricey Holiday
The holidays are often the busiest and most hectic time of the year. This year, thanks to record-high inflation, you can also add “priciest” to that list.
While shopping for gifts is rarely ever cheap, this year’s forecast looks especially painful. The annual rate of inflation currently sits at 8.3%, which is well above the 2% that the Fed shoots for. Prices are rising even faster than that in some categories. For example, the average cost of groceries has risen 13.5% from last year. That latter data point will bring on additional headaches if you plan to host a holiday dinner.
With inflation soaring at this level, it’s extra important for consumers to be strategic with their holiday shopping this year.
Avoid Frosty Finances
There are a few strategies that experts recommend when prepping your budget for the holidays.
One approach is known as “reward stacking” while shopping for holiday gifts. This is when an individual combines several different shopping rewards programs to maximize savings. For example, using an online coupon service while also using a credit card that gives 3% cash back.
Speaking of credit cards, many consumers look to take advantage of credit card referral programs. Some banks and lending institutions will pay $100 or more to encourage new members to sign up. This can be another easy way to recoup the money that you’re losing as a result of inflation.
Making a List, Checking It Twice
Perhaps the most important thing consumers should focus on is carefully planning ahead for their holiday shopping this year.
There’s no doubt that the higher inflation rate will make this holiday season a little more painful than normal. But by creating a game plan ahead of time, you’ll know exactly how much cash you’ll need on hand. Additionally, buying gifts well in advance can help you take advantage of sales while also avoiding any extra fees for expedited shipping.
Thanks to high inflation, shoppers might need to get a little creative with their spending this year. However, as the Whos in Whoville taught the Grinch, it’s not really about the presents anyway – don’t tell that to Amazon (AMZN) or Walmart (WMT).
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