Sure, there will lots of sales. But everything from gassing up to go shopping, travelling and food costs more.

So it’s not surprising that 47% are planning to spend less during the holidays this year than they did last year while 32% of Americans plan to keep their spending about the same compared with 38% last year, according to a MassMutual survey.

What can you do? Focus on cash contributions. I would avoid gift cards. though. Write a check or make a contribution. Here’s what you can do:

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  • Cash is Still King. Write a check or hand out legal tender. It’s always useful. Forget about cryptocurrencies.
  • Make A Contribution to an Emergency Savings Account. A frightening number of people don’t have a rainy day fund. Set up one in a money market fund or insured bank account. Money-market funds pay higher yields as interest rates rise.
  • Contribute to a 529 College Savings Plan. Every state offers these programs, which help parents save for college. Earnings within the plan grow tax free. Proceeds are also tax free — if used for qualified educational expenses.

How do these things help the recipients of your cash gifts beat inflation? While everything costs more, a cash cushion gives them some buffering, something that works in any economic climate.

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