Cost Cutters - Holiday Shopping

By: Larry Hatteberg Email
By: Larry Hatteberg Email

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Thanks to the sluggish economy, the holiday season is off to a slow start this year.

We're headed to the malls, but we're under stress. Here are some fascinating statistics regarding the debt and gift-buying of American citizens.

According to a poll by Consumer Reports:

  • 6% of Americans are still carrying debt from last Christmas. That's about 12 million people.

  • 76% plan to cut back on Holiday expenses.

  • However, and this astounding - only 23% of Americans say they plan to
    cut back on gifts for their pets while 40% said they would cut back on gifts for friends and family. Fido wins even in difficult financial times.

    Consumer Reports says make a budget for your Christmas shopping and stick to it. But that's hard to do.

    Their research shows the number one gift is clothing. But they say don't
    buy men socks. That is the most hated gift according to men.

    The number two gift: Gift Cards. Just make sure they don't expire and
    don't carry a fee.

    Spending for electronic gifts may decline this season, although Consumer
    Reports says they remain the most popular gift, especially iPods and MP3
    players. Other sources say the prices of flat-screen TV's are also plunging
    so it may pay to look around.

    Another big change this year is that shoppers may use more cash than credit cards, especially young people. Cash makes it easier to stay on budget, but more importantly, it won't bring ugly, January bill surprises.

    That may be the greatest gift of all.

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