Now that we are well into the holiday season, consumers tend to open up their pocketbooks and, let’s face it, go a little hog wild when it comes to shopping for family and friends. That’s good news for retailers who count on this time of year to put their revenues in the black.
It’s also good news for our slow-moving economy that calls for an influx of consumer cash with the hope of boosting corporate confidence and paving the way for expansion and new jobs in the coming year.
But at the individual level, a spending budget is still important–especially if you’re on a fixed income. No one needs to take on the woes of the U.S. by personally blitzing the mall or rationalizing, “Well, if I buy this it’s good for the economy.” Even though it feels good just to say that.
Perhaps it pays to take on more of a millionaire mentality. According to a recent survey by the Spectrem Group, 83 percent of millionaires did not plan to take part in the madness of Black Friday shopping after Thanksgiving, and 76 percent plan to spend the same amount on gifts as last holiday season.
George Walper, president of Spectrem, observed that post-election millionaire sentiment has become one of caution due to worries about the fiscal cliff and higher taxes. About 57 percent will spend $500 to $2,000 on gifts this year; only 20 percent plan to spend $2,000 or more.
[CLICK HERE to read, “Black Friday Sale? What’s a Sale, Millionaires Ask,” at CNBC, November 21, 2012.]
[CLICK HERE to read, “How Wide Will Millionaires Open Their Wallets This Holiday?” at MillionaireCorner.com, November 21, 2012.]
When it comes to cyber shopping, 49 percent of folks shopping online this year will be using a tablet instead of a computer, according to Zmags. The publisher’s recent survey revealed that consumers still enjoy looking through print magazines and catalogs for ideas, but a much smaller percentage of them actually purchase gifts from the catalog itself.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), this year’s hottest present will be the gift card. The industry expects total gift card spending to reach $28.79 billion this holiday season with purchases made either in store, online, or through a mobile device.
[CLICK HERE to read, “Survey: Nearly Half of Online Holiday Shopping Will Take Place on Tablets,” at Zmags.com, November 13, 2012.]
[CLICK HERE to read, “NRF CEO: “Thanksgiving Shopping Quickly Becoming Holiday Tradition for Millions of Americans,” at the National Retail Federation, November 23, 2012.]
[CLICK HERE to read, “Gift Cards: The Season’s Hottest Gift, According to NRF,” at the National Retail Federation, November 14, 2012.]
If you plan to do much of your shopping online this year, the government consumer website USA.gov offers these tips:
- Use credit cards instead of debit cards for better protection against unauthorized purchases.
- Calculate the total price of your purchase – including shipping and handling, insurance, taxes, and promo coupons – before clicking on “buy.”
- Read the return policy to understand whether the vendor will charge fees for restocking products or re-sending merchandise.
- Avoid shopping in stores outside the United States to avoid problems associated with returns or exchanges. Domestic online retailers are subject to U.S. consumer laws and therefore offer more buyer protections.
[CLICK HERE to read, “Online Shopping Safety Tips,” at USA.gov, November 16, 2012.]
In its annual holiday survey, Deloitte reports that there is a clear rise in optimism regarding the economy, household finances, and job security this year over last year. Fifty percent of Americans firmly believe that the economy will improve in the coming year, so it’s nice to start the New Year with a brighter outlook.
As always, if you’re looking for ways to better secure your future but maintain a current budget, we’re here to help you with that.
[CLICK HERE to read, “Deloitte’s 2012 Annual Holiday Survey,” at Deloitte.com, October 2012.]
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The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by our firm. Content is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.