The average inflation rate in the U.S. this year is 8.26 percent, the highest since 1980. Inflation is a problem worldwide: In Argentina, where most of my family lives, including my father, the inflation rate could exceed 100 percent. In short, this will be the most expensive Christmas in decades.
No one wants to hear that in the midst of holiday season. I don’t want to be the Personal Finance Grinch, but trust me, you don’t want to rack up credit card debt when jobs are being slashed and recession alarms are blaring.
Here are some gift-giving ideas to show people you care about them without breaking the bank:
Thrift shops, vintage stores, flea markets and antique stores can be treasure troves. Operative phrase: can be.
Some of them peddle junk, but others are stocked with worthwhile curios and hidden gems. The trick is to find the right ones, which isn’t always easy to do.
In my neck of the woods, for example, you can find a lot of cool stuff at Pretty Funny Vintage, including some fun jewelry for as little as 10 bucks.
Ask around. There’s usually at least one friend or family member who’s an avid antique hunter. They’ll know the good spots.
Just like thrift stores, not all discount stores are created equal. In New York, Jack’s 99 Cent Store was a cornucopia of miscellaneous overstocked items and could be a great source of stocking stuffers and children’s gifts (though I think that’s changed). Worth looking into in your area.
Do you have any talents or skills? Use them.
make a painting
If you can paint or draw, make a painting or create an illustration on a simple canvas you can pick up at an arts supply store.
make a Christmas short film
Do you have one of the latest smartphones? Yeah, they shoot in 4K. Unless you already have experience with editing, you don’t need something as robust as Adobe Premiere. You can use something as simple as iMovie if you have an iPhone. Here’s a list of video editing tools for beginners, including some free options.
record a Christmas song
Are you a musician, or at least a good singer? Cover a famous Christmas song. You can use GarageBand or other apps to record and edit.
knit a sweater
This might seem super old school to some people, but apparently there was a knitting revival during the pandemic. If you’re one of the people with this newfound skill, use it!
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Everyone loves treats over the holidays, but you don’t have to drop major coin at a fancy bakery.
Bake something, like gingerbread cookies. Or you can just pick them up at Trader Joe’s for five bucks.
Have a White Elephant Christmas
White elephant is communal gift giving. You buy a gift and throw it in the community pot. Participants can grab a gift or steal one each round. White elephant gifts tend to be quirky novelty items, and there’s always a limit, like 20 bucks or so. It’s fun, and it’s a good way to keep Christmas costs down.
We can sometimes get caught up in gift-giving one-upmanship, but you don’t have to, especially if we’re talking about family and close friends. In years past, my family and I have agreed to financial limits on Christmas presents. The constraints help rein in spending, and they can also force us to be creative. It’s a great way to downplay the materialism of Christmas and focus on family and friends.
Have any tips on bargain Christmas gifts? Let me know in the comments!
Latina Equal Pay Day
Today is Latina Equal Pay Day. Here’s a post about the wage gap and ways to address it.
Great advice and suggestions! This Christmas is going to hit hard.