How Much Will YOU Spend on Gifts?

by Justin Weinger on November 26, 2006

The other day I was reading an interesting article by Suze Orman which states that 20% of America’s annual retail spending occurs between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  That’s pretty amazing that most of us will do a fifth of our retail spending in a little over a month.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average American consumer will spend about $800 this holiday season, which is up roughly 7% from last year.  The relatively steep increase in holiday spending can be attributed to falling gasoline and energy prices as well as the fact that the average consumer will spend $100 on purchases for themselves (again, according to NRF).

Considering this year’s hottest gifts include the XBox 360 ($299 or $399, depending on which package you buy) and the PS3 ($499 or $599 depending on package) – not to mention the $60 games – it’s easy to see how so many people can get carried away with their gift giving.

All of that being said, no matter what your budget, this time of year can be expensive for anyone.  Here are some tips to help minimize your gift giving bill:

  • Instead of exchanging gifts with all of your family members, put everyone’s name in a bowl and have each person pick one person to give a gift to.  This way, everyone will have something to open, and everyone will save a significant amount of money.
  • Don’t put items on your credit card if you have no intention to pay the bill off right away.  There’s no point on having to pay interest on holiday gifts.
  • Take advantage of the sales.  I’ll be the first to admit I hate battling crowds when I shop, but if it’ll allow me to cut 40% off of my shopping bill I’ll go ahead and suck it up.
  • Don’t feel the need to keep up with the big spenders.  If you have friends or family that like to spend lots of money and buy lavish gifts, don’t feel the need to reciprocate.  Buy items that fit your budget, not the recipient’s.

So, with that being said, how much will you be spending this holiday season?  Go ahead and answer the question on the left hand side of the page to see how you stack up against other Saving Without A Budget readers.

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