The holiday season is finally here! 🎄🛍💫
But, before you bust out the Mariah Carey music and matching pajamas, we need to talk about a little thing called inflation and what it means for your wallet this holiday season.
What is inflation?
I’m glad you asked! Inflation reflects the overall rise in prices for goods and services in an economy. This happens when the value of your money (aka your purchasing power) decreases, which can be caused by a number of things like an increase in production costs or a surge in demand for products and services. For example, due to inflation, the average cost for a gallon of milk has risen from $2.84 to $3.59.
How does it affect my holiday shopping plans?
The simple answer: Things are going to be more expensive and sell out faster this year. But don’t worry, we got you! Below are a few key tips to help you get all of the things on your loved ones’ wish lists without breaking the bank. 👇
1. Set a budget.
This is the most important thing you can do to prevent overspending (something 20% of Americans did last year). Take a quick look at your Step Account and any cash you might have lying around to get an idea of how much you can spend on gifts this year. Let’s say it’s $100 and you’re planning to buy gifts for 4 people – that means you have $25 to spend on each person. Having a set dollar amount in mind will make holiday shopping (and staying on budget) much easier. Here’s a complete, step-by-step guide.
2. Shop early.
In past years, we might have told you not to rush into holiday purchases, but this is not a typical year. In fact, 60% of Americans have already begun shopping to take advantage of pre-Thanksgiving deals and secure hot ticket items before they sell out given current supply chain shortages. So, if you’ve got limited edition items on your shopping list––like a PS5 or the iPhone 13––you’ll want to get on that asap!
3. Track prices.
While it’s true that you’ll want to shop earlier this year for most gifts, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Before you get too distracted by a flashing 50% off sign, make sure to do a little price tracking to ensure you’re actually getting a good deal. Here’s a dirty little secret that retailers never tell you: Sometimes they’ll increase prices right before the holiday so it looks like you’re getting a really good deal when you might actually just be paying full price. Apps like CamelCamelCamel and Honey can help you avoid this.
4. Look for coupons.
Never doubt the power of a coupon! Last year, 13 million Americans missed out on additional savings thanks to good-old-fashioned coupons, and you don’t want to be one of them. Sites like RetailMeNot will check for additional discounts in an instant, all you have to do is type in the name of the store. You can even automate this process by adding browser add-ons like PriceBlink (which crawl the web for you).
Happy shopping and don’t forget, if you need a little extra cash, you can always refer friends to Step or set up direct deposit and get your next paycheck up to 2 days early! 🤑