Christmas shopping on it’s own can be a hassle in it’s own right but when you add on supply chain issues and labor shortages, it takes on a whole new level of struggle. As most people get ready to approach Christmas shopping as usual this year, there are few things you may want to remember as these unique economic challenges could very well impact your holiday.
1. Start as early as possible.
Mastercard recently did their latest Spending Pulse study and found that companies are now marketing as early as 75 days before Christmas. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to necessarily buy when they advertise to you but based on supply chain problems and low inventory of many products, it would be wise to start early. This not only will raise your chances of getting the gifts you want while they are still in stock, but also will give the companies plenty of time to get those products to your home should you choose to online shop.
2. Have A Plan ‘B’ & Plan ‘C’
Usually marketers will utilize a principle called “scarcity marketing” where they will encourage you to buy early to ensure that you get the product before it’s out of stock. This is called “subjective scarcity” since it’s merely a mindset the marketers want you to have rather than actually reflecting the reality of their inventory supply. However, because of the unique challenges facing shoppers in 2021, this might be an example of “objective scarcity” which actually reflects a lack of materials or products due to the pandemic. So it may be in your best interest to have backup ideas for gifts for those you are buying for in case you can’t get the gifts that you want for them this holiday season.
3. Don’t Expect As Many Deals & Sales
This isn’t to say that sales and deals won’t be happening as we’re already seeing that they are, but because of the inventory shortages, many companies simply aren’t motivated to discount their products because of limited availability and extreme consumer demand. So while you’ll still be able to find lots of deals and savings this holiday season, be prepared for some items or stores that may not be offering the savings they have in years past.
4. Always Have A Budget
I know it sounds super simple but if you don’t have a plan for your money, the many companies that are after your money (who do have a plan) will always win when it comes to convincing you to spend money you don’t have. Simply put, a budget is just a plan that tells your money where to go and what you intend to spend it on. In fact, according to Magnify Money, about a third (31%) of all consumers took on debt to pay for holiday expenses. Those who incurred holiday debt in 2020 went in the red on average around $1381 which is an increase of nearly $400 (or 40%) from five years ago when it was only $986 in 2015. I’m all for being generous with gift-giving during the holidays, but not at the expense of your financial health.
As we near closer and closer to Christmas, it’s crucial that we take a moment to remember the landscape that we are in this year. This isn’t intended to scare or propel people into buying things they wouldn’t normally buy or handle their money more loosely than they typically would, but more so this is hopefully going to help adjust expectations as some things may not go the way we desire this year. However, this Christmas is still an amazing celebration on it’s own and we have more than enough reason to be grateful so let’s make sure that despite the shopping hiccups that occur that we don’t forget why we have the hope that we do.