1 in 6 Americans Plan to Skip the Holidays This Year to Save Money. Should You?

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  • Inflation has left many Americans feeling financially squeezed.
  • You may be inclined to skip the holidays this year to conserve cash, but there may be a way to pull them off on the cheap.
  • Consider holding off on gifts, using airline miles, and readjusting your focus to make the most of the holiday season.

Talk about a tough choice to make.

If you've reached the point where you can't bear to look at your savings account balance because it keeps dropping month after month, you're unfortunately in good company. At this point, many consumers are feeling the strain of inflation.

Living costs have been elevated since the start of the year (before that, actually -- the problem began in mid-2021). And even if you've done a great job of cutting back on non-essential expenses, you might still be at a point where you're raiding your savings consistently just to cover basics like food and rent.

If money has gotten unfathomably tight, you may be inclined to skip the holidays this year rather than stretch your budget or risk going into credit card debt to pull them off. And if you're feeling that way, you're definitely not alone.

In a recent CouponFollow survey, one in six Americans is making plans to skip out on the holidays to save money. But that might constitute too much of an extreme for you -- and the people you care about. So before you write off the holidays completely, consider these tips for making them more affordable.

1. Don't do gifts

You might spend a modest amount of money on holiday food and decorations. But for the most part, it's gifts and travel that tend to put consumers over the edge. We'll talk about the travel aspect in a bit, but first, let's talk gifts. If you can't afford to give them this year, don't. It's that simple. If you gather with family and everyone hands something out, sit out that portion. If you're honest about your financial situation, chances are, no one will hold it against you.

2. Cash in your air miles

Live far from your hometown? Paying for a flight may not be an option these days, but that doesn't mean you can't travel. If you have credit card miles you can cash in, you might manage to travel for free. And if you can get a family member to shuttle you to and from the airport, you won't even have to bear the cost of a cab.

3. Focus on the things you're doing, not the things you're missing

If you're used to celebrating the holidays a certain way, it can be difficult to come to terms with the traditions you may have to skip this year due to financial constraints. But do your best to focus on things you are getting to do. Maybe you can't swing a massive tree this year -- so make the best of the small bush your friend dropped off and decorate it in a festive manner. Sometimes, all it takes is the right attitude to make an otherwise disappointing situation more palatable.

It's easy to see why some people may be looking to give this year's holidays a hard pass. But before you go to that extreme, think about the ways you can pull off a celebration without breaking the bank. You may find that you have more options than you'd think -- and that you'd rather celebrate the holidays in a low-key manner than pretend they don't exist.

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