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Holidays 2020: How to Scale Back, Enjoy Traditions

The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, but for many, it’s also the most expensive time of the year. A lot of people hide the fact that they experience stress during the holiday season because they want to be festive, but the truth is, many people feel increasingly apprehensive about money as the holidays approach. But one thing the pandemic has done is force us to slow down and focus on our individual families. And with gatherings undoubtedly limited this year, this comes with some unique opportunities to save and avoid a debt trap. Here’s how you can scale back this year while maintaining beloved traditions:

Food Costs

One budget category that’s likely to stay in the green this December is food and grocery expenses! Without the financial pressure of hosting events or contributing to potlucks or workplace gatherings, you will be saving a great deal! To keep the ‘reason for the season’ close to your heart, focus on preparing a really meaningful meal for yourself or your immediate family. Just because this year is different doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be special!


Although it’s not nearly as fun, you can expect to save some this year, as many traditional events will likely be cancelled. This includes gift drawings, school functions, white elephant gifts, workplace contributions, etc. As a thoughtful alternative, consider visiting Dollar Tree or the grocery store and packing small wrapped goodie bags for those you love, delivering them with care and safety precautions in place. It’s the thought that counts, even if you aren’t celebrating in the same ways.

Family Gifts

If you’re like us, you get involved in extended family gift-giving during the holidays as well, especially for kiddos! One great idea is to have your loved ones start a group Amazon wish list in advance so you can take advantage of sales throughout the holiday season. This will save a ton, and you can send things straight to people instead of having to brave the stores.

If you are feeling a bit blue about celebrating the upcoming holiday season differently this year, I echo your sentiments. But, with a little forward thinking, this year can be just as meaningful as ever, and you’ll save some money in the process!

Kat’s Money Corner is posted in the Kansas City Star every week. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, follow us on Twitter @CommunityAmerCU.

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