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Consumers Cutting Back on Holiday Splurges

The November poll hosted on the National Foundation for

Credit Counseling (NFCC) website queried consumers regarding holiday

spending. The results revealed that 50 percent of consumers intend to

spend less on holiday purchases this year than last, indicating they are

in a worse financial position, while thirty-seven percent plan to spend

nothing at all, as they fear further financial distress.

While this total of 87 percent is a shocking number, when asked the same

question in 2011, 91 percent of respondents indicated their intention was

to cut back or spend zero on holiday gifts, demonstrating a positive

year-over-year trend.

“This statistic speaks loudly, and underscores that consumers are not

willing to repeat the mistakes of Christmases past by spending

irresponsibly this year,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC.

A seemingly contradictory statistic was revealed in the NFCC’s October

poll where 70 percent of those participating felt that their best

financial days were in front of them. Taken together, the two polls

suggest that Americans are both optimistic and realistic, a combination

that could lead to a brighter financial future.

“It takes optimism to endure the difficult economic times of the past few

years,” continued Cunningham. “However, it takes a dose of realism to not

become an emotional spender during the holidays. It appears as though

consumers have learned a tough lesson, and will emerge better equipped to

face future financial challenges.”

Looking at the other poll answer options, 11 percent intend to spend as

they did in 2011, stating that their financial situation is now stable,

while 3 percent will spend more, feeling as though they are in a better

financial position this year.

Holiday spending can financially make or break retailers. The same is

true for consumers. Don’t let it be your personal fiscal cliff.

The actual November poll question and responses are as follows:

This holiday season I will:

Spend as I did last year because my financial life is stable = 11 percent

Cut back on spending, since I am worse off financially this year = 50 percent

Spend more than last year because I am in a better financial position = 3 percent

Not spend at all, because I anticipate further financial distress = 37 percent

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