‘Tis the season of gift-giving and hot cocoa. But are financial concerns clouding your holiday cheer this year? If so, you’re not alone. Rockland Trust conducted a survey of more than 2,000 respondents about how finances are top of mind when it comes to the 2023 holiday season. We share some key findings and tips to help you navigate this busy time of year with financial confidence.
How far in advance of the holiday shopping season do people prepare budgets?
The season of giving often feels like it sneaks up on us, which can make it difficult to plan for your shopping needs. Almost one in three people we surveyed reported not planning at all for their holiday shopping.
Setting a holiday budget may initially seem unnecessary, especially when festive spending tends to be more generous. Much like planning for holiday travel, creating a budget ahead of time can help you make thoughtful choices about where and how much you spend. If you haven’t had a chance to prepare just yet, you still have some time! We found that 36% of people establish a budget one to three months prior to the holiday shopping season.
Another effective approach for keeping tabs on your holiday spending is to open a dedicated checking or savings account. This allows you to set aside funds where you may be less tempted to spend it on other needs. No more budgeting on the go while you’re out shopping; instead, you can focus on thoughtful gifts for your loved ones.
Looking ahead into next year, maybe you can set aside a small amount each week for your holiday spending. These funds can add up quickly and spread out holiday expenses across the entire year.
Inflation is top of mind for everyone this year
Unlike the Grinch's heart that grew from holiday cheer alone, our wallets may be feeling two sizes too small. With economic uncertainty and inflation, many are focused on the financial stability and well-being of their families.
According to our survey, 63% of respondents expressed concerns about inflation’s impact on their holiday spending, and 48% cited living on a fixed income as a factor influencing their budget. In a world where budgets are tighter, it’s important to remember that quality matters more than quantity.
If inflation is causing you to rethink your gift strategy this year, consider other cost-friendly alternatives. Whether it’s a homemade pair of knitted mittens or passing down a cherished family heirloom, there are lots of ways to show your appreciation while keeping costs in check.
Not sure what to get someone on your list? Gifts don’t only need to be physical objects. More than half of our survey respondents say they give a mix of physical gifts, gift cards, or experiences.
Thinking about shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday?
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are known for sales, discounts, and other exciting offers. Our survey participants know this well – 50% of respondents shop on Cyber Monday, followed closely by 47% on Black Friday and 40% on Small Business Saturday.
As a partner to many local businesses, we love to see the support for Small Business Saturday. With 85% of businesses in Massachusetts classified as small or medium businesses, this festive period is an excellent time to show some love to the local businesses that are the backbone of our economy.
Buying gifts from a local Mom-and-Pop shop not only creates job opportunities but also boosts the local economy by increasing consumer spending. With 64% of respondents saying that they plan on spending just as much as last year on gifts, why not put some of that money in the pockets of your neighbors?
Be the Budgeting Boss
No matter your current financial situation, financial knowledge will help you not only be a savvy shopper so you can shop for friends and family without breaking the bank, but also help you maintain financial stability so you can reach the goals and milestones important to you. Educating yourself on the psychology of deals, for example, can help you determine the best spending options that keep you and your wallet happy.
Our Learning Center offers free resources that help you set financial goals, buy a home, and stay on top of your retirement savings. While you’re on the go this holiday season, catch up on the Mini Money Minutes podcast from our financial education development and strategy officer, Julie Beckham.
If you’re looking to support Massachusetts businesses this Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, use Rockland Trust’s curated list of some of our favorite local businesses for your holiday shopping needs.
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