Holidays: Get off the beaten track

“Christmas gifts” by top10things is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

LITTLE ROCK – With year-end buying in force, personal finance experts warn of overspending and starting the new year in debt.

Many retailers have extended their offerings well beyond Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber ​​Monday. National Retail Federation analysts expect shoppers to spend an average of $ 993.73 on gifts, vacation items, and non-gift purchases for themselves and their families this year. This is only slightly below the pre-pandemic high of $ 1,047.83 in 2019.

However, overspending is not necessary to make a vacation memorable.

“It’s easy to overspend in an attempt to create an extravagant vacation experience, but the truth is, gifts aren’t really the most important part of vacation memories,” Laura Hendrix, associate professor of personal finance and consumer economics at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said. “A lot of us just need to focus outside of the gift box and focus on the spirit of the season rather than the gifts.”

Hendrix, a Certified Financial Advisor, offers these tips for creating happy memories without breaking the bank.

LIMIT GIFTS – Reduce your gift list to save money. Limit the number of gifts purchased and the amount spent per gift. Reduce the shopping list by exchanging gifts only with family members and closest friends. With larger and extended families, pull names for gifts instead of buying them for everyone. Have the children prioritize the items on their wish lists.

SHARE TIME AND TALENT – Be creative with special gifts that use your time and talents, rather than your wallet. Memorable and meaningful gifts can be as simple as a pair of knitted mittens, homemade cookies or candy, coupons for babysitting, a camping trip, or other experience.

BUILDING TRADITIONS – The best family traditions don’t have to cost a lot. It can be as simple as listening to your favorite holiday music while decorating a tree, watching holiday movies together, or decorating gingerbread or sugar cookies.

PLANNING BEYOND THE HOLIDAYS – Great care is taken when opening giveaways. Plan activities that emphasize time and activities shared as a family. These can be just as rewarding. For more tips on saving money and resources on personal finance, visit

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