Sugar Plums and Surging Prices
The holiday season is always an expensive time of year, with plenty of smart budgeting required. And with the price of items like wrapping paper, airfare, and sweets up more than 10% this year, the spirit of the season feels especially dampened by inflation.
Bankrate recently completed a study of 40 common holiday purchases. These included gifts, travel, entertainment, and experiences. By taking note of the items that have most significantly jumped in price, and following some useful tips, you can make sure the holidays don’t set you back before the calendar turns to 2023.
Setting the Table
As you plan out holiday cooking and especially baking, be prepared to shell out. The price of eggs is up 43% compared to last holiday season, topping Bankrate’s list. Flour is up as well, by nearly 25%. And you won’t find much relief in store-bought sweet treats — bakery products have risen in price by 15.5%.
For the main course, going traditional will cost you top dollar. Turkey prices are up 16.9%, while poultry on a whole is up 14.9%. If your family enjoys seafood, that’s risen by a comparatively tamer 7.4%.
What about your gift shopping? Tools, hardware, and outdoor equipment are up by over 10%. In comparison, toys, games, and hobbies — as well as movie and concert tickets — are only up by about 6.5%. And savvy shoppers will want to know that certain items have actually dropped in price on an annual basis by over 15%, including TVs, smartphones, and tickets to sporting events.
The Earlier the Better, and Be “Card Smart”
With prices higher across the board, over 25% of Americans reportedly plan to go into debt while making holiday purchases this year. A good rule of thumb is to set a fixed budget when using credit cards, and refusing to go over that amount. It’s easy to get into credit card debt and much more difficult to get out of it, with interest rates up near 19%.
Expert shoppers also suggest getting started earlier. This allows for more comparative shopping, or seeking the best price across different stores, websites, and apps. Also, be sure to check your wallet, drawers, and pocketbooks for unused gift cards — the average American carries a $175 balance on these.
Finally, don’t be afraid to suggest splitting the cost of certain gifts across family members, such as when buying for grandparents or younger nieces and nephews. After all, finding creative ways to bring the family together is very much in the spirit of the season of giving.
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