According to a recent poll published by Consumer Reports, more than a few of us plan on cutting back the spending this holiday season:
Not surprising, consumers tell us they plan to watch their dollars carefully, continuing a trend that began in 2008. Planned spending may be down slightly this year, according to the poll; one in three consumers say they’re cutting back on purchases, while more insist they’ll commit to a budget this year (52 percent vs. 47 percent in 2010). And, once again, the bargain hunters will be out in force: 44 percent of respondents feel that getting a good deal is more important now than it was in 2010.
Yeah … about “bargain hunters.” If you believe that a “good deal” means camping out in a Best Buy parking lot for multiple weeks in advance of Black Friday, well, more power to you, I guess. I just can’t relate.
But back to Consumer Reports:
But take some of those numbers with a grain of salt. However noble their intentions, shoppers tend to underestimate their spending. Leading up to last year’s holidays, for instance, respondents anticipated spending an average of $457 on gifts, but in actuality ended up spending $556 — 22 percent more. Moreover, 45 percent of those who made a budget last year exceeded it. Five percent went over budget by a lot.
…Unfortunately, too many consumers still carry too much debt for too long. As of this month, 6 percent of Americans – around 14 million people – were still paying off their credit-card purchases from the 2010 holidays.
Because if they had, then Christmas 2010 would be just a (hopefully) nice memory, instead of a monthly Citibank bill with accruing interest!