SoFi December Reading Roundup

December Reading Roundup

Silver bells may be ringing, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to get your house (literally and figuratively!) in order before the holiday gatherings start. From preparing the perfect holiday meal to budgeting for last-minute gifts & decor, we’ve made a list (and checked it twice!) of some great ways to deck your halls and celebrate this season!

Are You Ready for the Holidays?

Before you can curl up under a blanket with some hot chocolate or bake cookies with the family, there are a few things you may want to do to protect your holiday spirit from hectic holiday chaos. If you’re buying gifts for kids, it’s never too early to scan the hottest toys of the year , especially since many shoppers are realizing that supply chain issues are making big ticket items even harder to snag this year. (More on gifts in the next section!).

But gifts may not be the only thing you’ll have to budget for. From decorations to the holiday dinner, holiday expenses can really add up. These money pressures can even make some feel so squeezed for funds that they consider getting another credit card just to finance the holidays . Learning how to cut costs on that big holiday feast or how to earn some extra holiday dough can help you make ends meet, avoid holiday stress, and focus on things that truly matter.

Gifting on a Budget

Getting holiday gifts together can be stressful any year. But with COVID-19 putting extra strain on many Americans’ budgets this year, many are left wondering, “Can I afford holiday presents?” While that answer will vary person by person, there are strategies anyone can use to save on holiday gifts , be it for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or even just a get-together with your close friends and family.

If you’re trying to pay down debts during the holiday season but still want to give gifts, you may want to start by finding easy ways to save on popular sites like Amazon . There are also a number of creative money gift ideas you may want to use if you’re planning on giving out cash to those in your life who may be short on change.

When gifting on a budget, avoiding last minute purchases can help you prevent being cornered into overspending on marked up goods and services. However, you may still be able to find some cheap last-minute gifts that your friends and family will appreciate.

Making the Most of Family Time

You don’t need to spend a ton of money to have a good holiday season! Instead of blowing your budget to make the holidays fun, you may want to use your time off work or school to get in some extra family time.

There are plenty of things you can do for free (or close to it) with friends and family during the holidays. Many neighborhood symphonies offer free or discounted holiday concerts, and shelters are always looking for volunteers during the holidays.Too cold to go outside? You could stay in, throw on some Christmas classics, and huddle in with some fun video games, board games, movies , and more!

Holiday Vacations & Travel

Whether you’re traveling for a winter wedding or a family holiday vacation , you can cut down on holiday travel costs by shopping around for cheap flights. Learning how to be a frugal traveler is one way you could lower your holiday travel costs. A low-cost airline could be part of your low-cost holiday travel tool chest, too.

You may also want to consider using an app to help you make the most out of your holiday vacation and budget. Many of these apps will help you find cheap attractions and offer practical advice, like providing you with local maps or finding the exchange rate on currency if you’re leaving the country. And if you’re traveling with kids, you may want to check out some tips on keeping the kids safe (and entertained!) while on the road or in the air.

Holiday Scams

While the holidays may be a time of comfort and joy, it can often also be a time of scammers and con artists. Luckily, there are plenty of experts out there who think you better not pout or cry this holiday season. So we took a ride on Santa’s digital sleigh to gift you with some links that may help you avoid scammers this holiday season:

•  FBI: Criminals Are Also Gearing Up for a Busy Season

•  How to Protect Yourself From Holiday Scams

•  Shopping for must-have holiday toys? Beware of scams

•  Tips on how to spot and avoid travel scams this holiday season

•  How To Spot, Avoid, and Report Fake Check Scams

•  Protecting Yourself from Charity Scammers This Holiday Season

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Photo credit: iStock/svetikd

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