Picking up Nickels

Monday, December 22, 2008

Are you downsizing Christmas?

In November, the American Research Group reported that the overall average planned holiday spending is down almost 50% from 2007 and it is the lowest level of planned spending recorded by them since 1991.

What I find interesting about holiday spending surveys is that we always end up spending far more than the "average" person out there, while at the same time we seem to be saving more and incurring less debt.

For 2008, I'd guess we're still looking at spending around $2000 for Christmas gifts since we still buy presents for a menagerie of children on both sides of the extended family. And although we had no planned spending cuts, the "Christmas gift lottery" for adults that we've typically done has been eliminated on both sides of the family due to a lack of interest.

And even with the dismal economic climate, we've also kept up with our usual charitable donations and I'm still planning on holding a holiday party for my S Corp in January, so our ongoing spending, saving, and investing continues to march along as usual.

One thing I have noticed is a bunch of interesting sales and deals this year (I check dealighted.com daily), and I think I've spent the most money ever at Staples of all places, due to good promotions, coupons, and the 2% ebates.com bonus. On the other hand, one "old faithful" that has disappeared is the December weekly free razor deal, a favorite of mine that seemed to show up many times in the weeks leading up to Christmas over the past few years. Hopefully they'll resurface in June when Father's Day rolls around again.

So even though depressing news about the economy seems to pop up on a daily basis, my personal observations provide me with hope that we're not due for a killer recession. Heck, if my neighbor can continue to hire a company to set up their Clark Griswold Christmas light display, things can't be that bad, right? :)


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