8 in 10 Americans Are Cutting Vacation Spending Due To Inflation — And It’s Not Too Late To Save Money Too

A group of friends exchanging gifts.

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We may be well into the holiday season, but you can still make some important changes.

Most important points

  • Inflation is forcing consumers to rethink their usual holiday spending.
  • If you’re already up to your ears in holiday costs, some last-minute strategies may be in order.

The holidays are often an expensive time of year. But this year’s holiday season has been especially tough financially for many people because of inflation.

Not only does it cost more to buy gifts and other holiday items, but many consumers had already racked up credit card debt before the holiday season began as they had to pay their basic bills. And so the idea of ​​taking on even more debt may seem daunting.

It’s no surprise, then, that 8 in 10 consumers are cutting back on holiday spending this year, according to the latest BMO Real Financial Progress Index. And you might want to follow their lead, too — even if you’ve already spent quite a bit of money on the holiday season so far.

Don’t dig yourself into a deep hole

Today, credit card interest rates have risen due to rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. That makes it more dangerous and more expensive than usual to carry a credit card balance. And that’s why it pays to look at cutting back on your spending for the rest of the holiday season, even if you haven’t cut back so far.

What changes can you view? For starters, if you’re not done shopping for Christmas gifts, rethink your plans. Instead of shelling out another $200 or $300, give yourself a tighter budget or consider shrinking your gift list if money is tight. In many cases, a nicely written card or note will go a long way in spreading joy for the holidays.

Next, think about how you will celebrate Christmas. Do you receive a large audience? If that’s the case, it’s not too late to ask people to bring a drink, dessert, or side dish to help you prepare less (and buy fewer items). And if you’re asked to travel a long distance to see family for Christmas and feel you can’t afford the cost of gas and tolls, deflect — especially if they can’t accommodate you and you have to pay for a hotel room to make that trip.

Finally, rethink your plans for New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve is one of the most expensive nights of the year to go out. Even cheap restaurants tend to impose a predetermined menu that allows you to spend twice as much as you normally would for a meal on your list).

Instead of getting out of the house, consider making it a nice evening. Order a pizza or cook something delicious, and save yourself the trouble of putting on nice clothes and dealing with crowds.

A smart decision

Cutting back on holiday expenses isn’t an easy decision, but it can be a necessary one. You don’t want to start the new year with a huge mountain of debt hanging over your head. And if you manage to cut some expenses in the coming weeks, you may not have to.

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