Holiday shopping tips: How to budget and save money on your gifts this year

WLS logo  Monday, December 11, 2023 |By Jason Knowles and Ann Pistone

CHICAGO (WLS) — While inflation overall has been going down, prices are still high and consumers are feeling it as they shop for holiday gits.

The latest inflation rate is at 3.2%, which means it could be a challenge to buy for everyone on your list. Here are some tips to help save money on gifts this holiday season.

“We do not want the overwhelming thoughts of holiday shopping to derail building long term wealth, ” said City Treasurer Melissa Conyears Ervin. “Number one, create a budget. That is so important; so easy, yet difficult to stick to”

Conyears Ervin advises your shopping budget should be 1.5% of your total income.

“So if you make $50,000 a year you want to try to have a budget of $750,” she said.

Now that the budget is set, beware of layaway deals and store credit cards offers.

“We all love purchase now pay later. While that may be a great benefit during the holiday season, please make certain that you are reading the fine print because what we don’t want to do is purchase now and pay more later,” Conyears Ervin said.

And make sure you pay off all credit card balances.

Robin Strach avoids credit cards all together.

“I live a cash life, what I spend I am not going to have to pay later,” she said.

While in stores, you can price match. The store may honor the lower price you find at a competitor’s website.

And don’t forget to use store rewards programs and promo codes, Conyears-Ervin said.

“We want to make sure we are stacking rewards. Many ways to build on cash back rewards get discounts on top of discounts,” she explained.

“Things are more expensive without doubt but I still had to buy the gifts I had to buy,” said Stratch.

A study from consumer experts at Bankrate said 73% of Americans will change the way they shop this year because of inflation.

The City of Chicago Treasurer also reminded people to support small businesses. Doing so can help the local economy and local residents.