Holiday Spending Up: Are We Blowing Our Budgets?

7 years ago

The news looks good: Holiday spending is up. Way up. 12% from last year, which equals about 22 billion dollars more than we spent in 2009. As Jolie O'Dell of Mashable says, "Recession? What recession?" Of course, all of that means nothing if we're charging all of our gifts and creating another black hole of debt. The better news? We're not.

According to Time, we may have finally learned the lesson. The hard way, of course, but learned all the same.

Surveys indicate that the number of shoppers using credit cards for holiday purchases has fallen to the lowest percentage ever since such data has been gathered. That's a good sign considering that an estimated 13.6 million Americans are still paying off debts from last holiday season.

And the economy rejoiced! Or, at the very least, economists rejoiced.

Personally, I have spent more on gifts this season than I did last year. However, neither I nor my husband have put a single dollar (or cent!) of that expenditure on a credit card. I knew coming into this year that I wanted to buy my husband (and, let's be honest, myself) a new (fancy!) TV for Christmas. I scrimped and saved and put extra money back and denied myself that gorgeous necklace on Etsy all year long so I would have the money available to make that purchase. I also kind of hoped and prayed for crazy-good Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals. I got one.

I'm not the only one. The blogosphere doesn't seem to be treating this as an all-out spending spree either, though talk of budgeting isn't always met with resounding joy.

One Frugal Girl recounts their decision to cut back last year and how they aren't setting as tight of a budget this year.

This year I'm not sure if I can convince my husband to cut back on spending again. I can tell by the groan in his voice and the grumble in his tone that he does not want to stick to a holiday budget. In general he doesn't like to be told what to do and when it comes to money he really does not like to be limited in his options.

In a discussion on the Frugal Living Community at BlogFrog, almost everyone is coming in under budget. Of course, they're frugal and such, using technology to aide in their savvy ways!

We are actually coming in a little under budget so far. The Amazon gift cards we were able to cash in from Swagbucks or we earned through blog posts etc...came in higher than we thought so our out of pocket was less! Love when that happens!

Karen at Living Well on Less just welcomed a new baby (CONGRATS!), and as such, asked to be exempt from all gift exchanges this year.

For a number of reasons, though, I’ve decided to take Christmas off this year. Not only are we short on time, but our budget is very tight. As much as we love shopping for our families, we’ve asked to be excused from any holiday gift exchanges this year. We typically only exchange gifts with our parents and buy toys for our nieces and nephews anyway. The way I see it, our parents are getting a grandbaby for Christmas. It took me 9 whole months to make this baby for them, so they better like it.

Even Queen Elizabeth II cancelled the royal Christmas party.

"Given the current economic climate, it was thought that it was appropriate for the Household to show restraint," a spokesman for the Palace told AFP.

Restraint. What a good way to put it! Hopefully even with the rise in Christmas spending, each individual and family is able to practice restraint and do what is financially responsible this season.

Have you spent more than you did last year on gifts? Are you ignoring your credit cards, too? What do you think about the up-tick in spending as a whole?

Contributing Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog and The Chronicles of Munchkin Land. She is a freelance writer and newspaper photographer.

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