Do Not Panic Buy
Every morning when I turn on the news there seems to be a new issue that is going to end up costing us more as consumers. From supply chain issues (due to cargo ships being stuck along with the supplies they carry), shortage in labor (that is affecting every industry from hospitality, restaurant to trucking) to inflation to name a few.
No doubt you have seen the rising cost in your grocery bill and gas prices in recent weeks. Our pockets are definitely feeling some pain with everything that is going on. In addition, the empty shelves in our grocery market and being strongly encourage to buy early to avoid not getting what we need and want for the holidays can create a sense of panic and urgency.
Who knows, maybe the store will run out of cranberry sauce or will not have the special ingredient you need for your family recipes. Even worst, maybe the gift will not arrive in time for Christmas. But we should not panic buy, especially if our budget does not support it.
I get it, we want everything to be perfect for the holidays and with the pandemic we want things to be as normal as possible. The truth is, we are not in normal times and we cannot control what is happening in our economy, but we still have control over our money. We have control over the amount we make and choose to spend.
Do not derail your financial goals due to a false sense of urgency. Is it really that bad if we do not have grandmas famous pie or if the grandkids or children do not get what they really want on Christmas day? These are questions I ask myself and I found that the world did not end when we did not prepare all the foods we normally did or get the gift we wanted to get. Matter of fact, we created a game out of it last year when our gifts did not arrive in time. We wrapped a picture of what we bought and put an ‘arrival by’ date on it. It seems the kids had more fun anticipating the arrival of the gift than the gift itself.
Here are some tips that could help you get through the holidays:
Adjust your budget – it should be no surprise to us base on the prices we are seeing and what is being reported – Christmas gifts along with the food and trimmings might cost us a lot more this year. To offset this cost, you need to adjust your budget. See what you can cut back on to adjust for the increase or maybe you need to spend less and remove some of the expenses that is not really necessary even though nice to do or have.
Create new traditions – Maybe we need to change the way we do the holidays and create new traditions that does not involve spending or at a minimum reduce the amount we spend. In my family, we serve a lot of dishes on the table. In 2020 we reduce the amount of food serve and we are continuing that for 2021. We also change the way we do gifts. I suggest you sit down and have a family meeting to come up with new ways you can still have your family traditions and cut expense. You may be surprise what your family comes up with especially the kids. Who knows, a potluck-style holiday meal might be in your future.
Get a second job – If things are tight or you simply want some extra money for Christmas, get a second income. There are “Now Hiring" signs everywhere we turn. Why not take advantage. You will get extra cash and help with the labor shortage the country is currently facing. It’s a win, win.
2021 might be the most expensive holiday season according to the experts. Stay within your budget. Do not feel obligated to spend what you do not have and put yourself in debt. You need only to say, ‘it is not in the budget.’