Expert warns of expensive Christmas

‘Many Georgians will need to make budget adjustments’

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U.S. inflation and supply chain disruptions have marred Georgia’s economy in many ways this year. Now experts are advising Georgia holiday shoppers to prepare for a pricey Christmas in 2022.

According to a Nov. 2022 WorldRemit report, raised Christmas prices — ranging from food to decorations to gifts — will cost roughly 28% of U.S. households’ monthly incomes this year. The price of a 10 pound ham alone has increased 150% year over year to an average $29.90. Christmas gifts are expected to cost families an additional $238 on average this year. Overall, total year-over-year Christmas costs are up over 44% in the U.S.

2022 U.S. Christmas shopping predictions by WorldRemit
Average food cost per household$118.54
Average gift cost per household$886.00
Average decorations cost per household$198.99
Average percentage of monthly household income27.82%
Total year-over-year difference+44%

WorldRemit country manager Paula Andrea Valle Bedoya warned that Georgia holiday shoppers will want to revisit their Christmas budgets this year.

“In CNBC’s rankings of the top states for businesses, Georgia boasts high scores for both the economy and cost of living categories compared to the rest of the country,” Bedoya told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “However, Georgians are still feeling the squeeze of inflation. Even though the cost of living in Georgia is lower than most of the country, the high prices of Christmas gifts and in-demand holiday items will likely impact folks in the region. Many Georgians will need to make budget adjustments like preparing a different Christmas dinner menu or adjusting their allotted gifting spend to accommodate the larger macroeconomic factors driving up prices.”

The largest factors contributing to this year’s high Christmas costs across the globe are food prices.

“Across the 14 countries observed for this research in both 2021 and 2022 studies, the greatest increase in the Cost of Christmas was a result of rising food costs, which are expected to continue to rise over the next two months,” she said. “This consistent increase in the price of food, which saw the highest increase (50%) year over year, compared to 13% and 21% increases across the other categories, means families globally will likely need to shift their budget planning to accommodate for the increased costs of holiday meals. These findings reflect similar conclusions drawn in WorldRemit’s recent Cost of School (Aug 22) and Cost of Living (June 22) studies.”

The WorldRemit expert explained that getting your shopping in early by taking advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals is crucial to saving money.

“Be diligent about looking for deals and consider doing Christmas spending early,” she said. “If sending money overseas, FX rates typically rise closer to the holidays. Similarly, while Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great times to identify promotions, specific brands may do sales sooner to capture early shoppers.

“Be flexible. With in-demand items around the holidays rising in price, it is important to have some flexibility in your budget, whether that means adjusting the menu for Christmas dinner, finding ways to DIY your holiday decor rather than buying new, or simply getting holiday spending done sooner. From sending money to prepping the day-of meal, budgeting early will help save money over time.

“Be communicative. Talk to your family members about the expectations for the holidays and align on a budget or plan that works for everyone. It’s crucial to do what you can to financial wellness as much as possible even throughout a financially stressful season. A recent WorldRemit study showed that 72% of international money senders now only send to close family and friends to accommodate for the pressures on their daily budget.”