Families are stressed right now when it comes to finances. When you add holiday shopping into the equation, it can become overwhelming.

Smart shopping expert Trae Bodge says it’s no surprise, given inflation.

“Consumers are really feeling the pinch especially on their gas purchases, grocery and, of course, now holiday gifts,” Bodge said.

So how can parents afford the expenses of the upcoming holiday? For starters, Bodge says they should get organized.

“Make a list of recipients…a few gift ideas for each, a budget for each,” she said. “We’re seeing this roller coaster of deals, and so if you see a good deal and it’s something on your list you should get it now in case we have any supply chain issues or shipping issues later in the season.”

And you should start to shop now. Spreading out purchases will help to ease the blow.

“Spreading out your holiday shopping allows you to spread that outlay across multiple pay periods and it feels just less impactful financially to do that,” Bodge said.

Spending is expected to be soft this year, but there are deals to be found by shopping around and using coupons, especially on casual apparel and toys.

“Retailers are on sitting on a lot of excess merchandise in those categories, so it’s a good time to buy those items right now and save as much as they can,” according to Bodge.

And if you’re worried about disappointing your family, get ahead of that by bringing everyone into the conversation.

“It’s so important for parents to start setting expectations with their kids,” she said. “I think some of us have fallen into a pattern of going big for every holiday and then that is what your kids expect. But they take the cues from you. If you say to them, ‘hey we’re going to do a smaller Christmas or Hanukkah this year, we’re going to do one gift for each person and then we’re going to volunteer on Christmas Day,’ these are lessons you can teach your kids that will not only help you save now, but will help you teach them to make smarter financial decisions in the future.”

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