November is nearing its end, meaning we are well within the holiday season, and soon we will be planning for Christmas and New Years’ Eve; gathering with loved ones, shopping for gifts, and figuring out travel plans make for an exciting, but expensive, time of year.
Last year, the average non-traveling family planned on spending about $1,047.83 during the holidays, and that average was even higher for families who typically travel.1
Of course, global circumstances of 2020 have changed so many things, and the holidays will be no different in that regard. There are benefits, however, to having socially distanced celebrations and staying home for the holidays this year - including to your finances, as you will likely find you have extra money in your budget for the month that can go towards things like your emergency fund or even your retirement
Expense #1 You'll Save This Year: Holiday Parties
Hosting parties is a great way to bring your family and friends together to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. But planning elaborate parties and entertaining guests can be stressful on you and your bank account. The cost of decorations, activities, food, drinks and fancy holiday outfits all add up quickly.
By keeping your gatherings small or seeing your loved ones through video calls this year, you’ll be able to stay healthy and cut down on your spending by quite a bit.
Expense #2 You'll Save This Year: Gift Exchanges
Not everyone gets excited to participate in Secret Santa with their co-workers. And even if you do, finding the right gift can be costly and time-consuming, during a season that is already so busy.
With a great number of businesses continuing to conduct business remotely or with a drastically reduced in-person team, it’s likely your work may not have any sort of gift exchange this year - meaning there’s no need to find a gift for a coworker you (in all honesty) may not know that well.
Gift exchanges are also a common activity among friend groups at holiday parties or smaller gatherings. Staying safe and limiting in-person contact may mean you can hold off on simply checking off a list of gifts for all your friends, which can end up feeling more like a financial competition than an expression of friendship.
Expense #3 You'll Save This Year: Travel Expenses
Traveling at any time of the year, whether it’s to visit family or enjoy a getaway, can be costly. But high demand during the holiday season means airfare and train tickets tend to skyrocket.
With social distancing guidelines in order to combat the pandemic, it’s likely that more people will opt for staying home for Christmas this year. If you choose to stay in town instead of traveling, you will save hundreds on airfare, gas, train tickets, rental cars and other travel-related expenses.
Expense #4 You'll Save This Year: House Sitters and Pet Sitters
Another benefit of not traveling this year that may be overlooked is the simple fact that you will be in your own home, with all your household’s members, including furry family members. No need to scramble to find someone who can house sit or pet sit amidst their own holiday plans, or worry whether or not you can trust the reviews of or even afford any kennels or pet resorts. Instead, you will be celebrating with your pets by your side - an emotional relief (for your pets, too!), as well as a financial silver lining.
Expense #5 You'll Save This Year: Impulse Buying
Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the usual carousel of holiday sales are efficient at encouraging consumers to “impulse buy,” spending with little thought in order to take advantage of a great deal. The average person spends $419.52 on Black Friday.2 As with everything else this year, holiday shopping will look a little different, as stores have implemented limited capacity and closed dressing rooms in order to keep customers safe and healthy.
Staying home can limit possible exposure to the virus, but also eliminate the temptation to pick up everything you see in stores just because of a discount sign, which will be a relief on your wallet. However, it is just as important to keep yourself in check against the newest, socially distant avenue for impulse buying: online shopping.
Life during a pandemic is already a stress on your mental health and, potentially, your finances. Instead of breaking the bank on parties and travel this year, take the time to relax in the comfort of your own home. Your financial advisor can help you take advantage of the money you will save this holiday season and make the most of these extra funds wherever you are in need of them.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.