In recognition of the financial challenges created by stubborn inflation, Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin is rolling out eight tips this holiday season for giving thoughtful gifts while keeping expenses under control.
Due to increased costs for items like groceries, rent and utilities, nearly 75% of all consumers are planning to make cutbacks on their spending this holiday season according to a recent CNBC by Morning Consult study. In fact, many holiday shoppers are planning to purchase fewer items and leaving cherished friends and acquaintances off their shopping list. For others it also means buying now and paying later, a scheme which can be more costly than imagined and can lead to financial hardship.
“The most reported stressful parts of the holiday season are affordability and picking out gifts,” said Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin. “However, spending less on holiday gifts should not mean having to compromise on thoughtfulness or joy. These thoughtful gift suggestions will help Chicagoans get through the holiday season with their financial health intact.”
Eight Holiday Shopping Tips for Tackling Inflation:
- Create a holiday budget: Look at your current debt, do the math and make a gift giving list that fits within your overall household budget. It is recommended to spend no more than 1.5% of your annual salary on holiday expenses.
- Stack rewards: Combine several shopping rewards programs to maximize discounts, points, and cash back on a single purchase. Many credit cards offer additional discounts for purchases at your favorite stores. To see if your credit card comes with any special offers, check your credit card issuers app or website.
- Go homemade: “Do-It-Yourself” or make-at-home gifts might be appropriate for some on your shopping list, such as grandparents and kids’ teachers.
- Avoid “shopping momentum” and stay Zen: You’re more likely to keep spending once you’ve started, so stick to your shopping list. Avoid the buying frenzy and comparing spending habits with others’ habits.
Add 1/Holiday Shopping Tips for Tackling Inflation
- Make your own discounts: Use coupons and cashback sites and apps when making purchases and consider price-matching. Before running to several stores to save money, learn about a store’s price-matching policies. For example, a store might be willing to give the same price on an item if you can prove the same item is being offered at another store for less.
- Support local businesses: Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy employing approximately half of all Chicagoans. Shopping at local merchants is often beneficial to the community and can benefit consumers. Earn cash back from credit cards when shopping at participating local merchants.
- Take advantage of payment options: Make sure you clearly understand the total cost of the purchase, which may incur additional fees with “pay later” options. Remember, it’s best to use your credit card for items you can pay off in full when the credit card bill comes due, avoiding costly interest charges and other fees.
- Make memories: Spend time with family and friends (low-cost activities like building a snowman, baking cookies, etc.) and have fun instead of spending money.
“Building long-term wealth requires effective and efficient money management skills but at perhaps no time of the year other than the holidays do these skills get tested so much, putting our financial health and well-being at risk,” added the City Treasurer.
For a complete list and schedule of all the City Treasurer’s Office financial education and literacy programs and a video library to help build wealth today for tomorrow, please visit www.Chicagocitytreasurer.com.