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Holiday shopping comes early this year, WVU expert offers tips and advice to safely navigate holiday shopping on a budget

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Lauren Weatherford, WVU Extension Service Families & Health Agent – Fayette and Nicholas counties WVU Extension Photo

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With major retailers announcing holiday deals starting as early as mid-October, shoppers are preparing to get a head start on their holiday shopping. Great deals may provide a little normalcy and joy this holiday season, but WVU Extension Service Family and Community Development Agent Lauren Weatherford cautions shoppers about emotional spending. Finding hope and happiness doesn’t have to “break the bank.” It may also be a good time to rethink how you celebrate.

Let Your Budget Determine Your Needs

“Whether it’s a lot or a little, identify how much you have to spend. This is important before you start shopping. Make a “gift” list to help you prioritize what you need to buy and set limits on how much you will spend on each person. If your budget doesn’t stretch to cover everyone, that’s ok. Personalized cards and homemade gifts have been shown to have more value than mass-produced items.”

Plan How to Shop

“In addition to watching your wallet, safety will be a huge factor for many shoppers who are concerned about the coronavirus pandemic. Stores are planning for increased online sales and curbside pickup. Plan where and when to do your shopping. Start early and do your research. Holiday sales and Black Friday fliers are already out. Be sure to update your apps. Stores may offer discounts through apps, and discount or rebate sites can help you find great deals.”

Be Honest and Respectful of Family and Friends – Make Changes as Needed

“Whether this is a flush year or a lean year, it may not be the same for those you love. Ask if you can change traditions to help each other out. Instead of buying gifts for everyone create Secret Santa traditions, set spending limits, agree to make homemade gifts, make donations in each other’s names or pass down precious heirlooms. Have fun creating new traditions while reducing holiday stress for everyone. Find ways to make the gifts less about the amount, and more about the meaning.”

Expect the Unexpected

“If you’ve shopped online this year, you may have run into shortages or delays. Due to pandemic issues with supply chains and shipping delays, online orders may not arrive as planned. Try to go with the flow, plan as best you can and move to Plan B if that doesn’t work out.” 

Support your Local Community

“Shopping local can support local jobs and benefit your community. Local retailers are more likely to make social distancing accommodations and sometimes even deliver, helping you avoid shipping delays. You can often find unique and customized gifts at local shops.”

“Celebrate the season by making local donations or volunteering your time to support those in your community who are struggling this season.”

Learn more about holiday budgeting tips and finances from WVU Extension Service experts. 

West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Search for an expert by name, title, area of expertise or college/school/department in the Experts Database at WVU Today.



CONTACT: Tara Curtis
WVU Extension Service

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