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Are You Spending More, Less, or About the Same on Christmas This Year?

By JLP | December 8, 2009

I don’t know about you, but I find this surprising…

This year 43% of consumers said they intend to cut back their holiday spending, compared to 55% last year. But the 43% figure is still much higher than in the previous eight years of 2000 to 2007, a period when the percentage intending to spend less never exceeded 35% and dipped as low as 21% (in 2002).*

Only 43% of people surveyed are cutting back on their holiday spending this year. Is this a sign that things are improving or are people just not facing reality?

What about you? Are you cutting back this year, spending more, or keeping it about the same as last year. We are trying to cut back this year. Part of the reason being that we spent a lot of cash earlier this year on some major expenses. We were fortunate to have the cash available for those expenses but they ate up our nice cushion. So, we are being a lot more careful with our spending this year.

*Spending Survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

Topics: Budgeting, Question of the Day | 23 Comments »

23 Responses to “Are You Spending More, Less, or About the Same on Christmas This Year?”

  1. Mrs. Money Says:
    December 8th, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I’m spending less, but I’m making more things this year. At least they will be made with love, right? 😉

  2. JD from A Penny Saved Says:
    December 8th, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I am keeping my Christmas spending the same this year. Of course, my spending on Christmas has been the same for the last five years, so as a percentage of income it has gradually decreased.

  3. RJ Weiss Says:
    December 8th, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    The biggest difference I have noticed is when we do gift exchanges. For example, last year my family did a Secret Santa w/ a $100 limit. This year we’re doing a Yankee Swap w/ $50 limit.

  4. Stacey Says:
    December 8th, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Same amt for others…children’s amounts fluctuate depending on needs/wants.

  5. Foobarista Says:
    December 8th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    We’ve never been big “Christmas spenders”, so we’re about the same as always. But we probably will have more spending this year since it’s our 10th anniversary, and it is three days before Christmas.

  6. Courtney Says:
    December 8th, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Hubby and I are spending about the same as previous years, since we budget for christmas gifts throughout the year. Maybe a little less on gifts for each other, but only because neither of us wants anything “big” this year. And we have one less family member to buy gifts for this year.

  7. Kirk Kinder Says:
    December 9th, 2009 at 8:36 am

    I think it might be a mistake to look at the 43% to gauge if Christmas spending will be up or not. If 55% cut spending last year, the 43% cut would be on top of a large cut from 2008. So even though 43% is less than 55%, the total expenditures could be below last year since one number builds upon the other.

    My family is spending the same as last year, but we cut back significantly last year.

  8. Joshua Says:
    December 9th, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Cutting back significantly this year. Have to afford a plane ticket to see my parents. We don’t really treat christmas like that. Since we all live far away just seeing each other is a blessing.

  9. BG Says:
    December 9th, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Probably be spending about the same as last year (and previous years), and with cash only — no more credit card use for me.

    I prefer to purchase a few, but relatively expensive gifts, as the kids seem to appreciate that more — instead of the tons of cheap plastic crap we used to buy. It’s a more efficient use of money.

    For example, last year I bought this tricycle for my son — he rides the thing daily and it is indestructible.

  10. anna Says:
    December 9th, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    probably a bit more, but I’m a lot more solid with my financials this year. I also take my change jar for the year to coinstar and turn that into amazon money, so that ends up feeling like “free” money to spend on people.

  11. Lindsay Says:
    December 9th, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    I think this is strange, and I’ve had this problem all season (just like I did last year). They SAY “recession” and “bad economy” but I SEE restaurants with 1 hr+ waiting times, outlet malls packed, and lines outside of Walmart on Black Friday.

    Which one’s the truth?

    We’re spending about the same, maybe a tad more as my kids’ desires get more expensive.

  12. Tim Says:
    December 9th, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    we don’t spend anything specifically for the holidays. they are just days to us. we like the holidays though.

  13. Tim Manni Says:
    December 9th, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Hey guys,

    For me personally, I’m cutting back this year. Instead of buying multiple gifts for family members like I had done in years past, I’m limiting it to just one per person this year.

    I can understand that some aren’t scaling back. The holidays are very important to many people, and I think many set money aside in order to make sure their holiday traditions survive.

    Great post, thanks,

  14. Diasdiem Says:
    December 10th, 2009 at 10:13 am

    I’m spending less. We’ve all agreed to a “no sibling gift exchange this year.” Not for saving money, just because none of us can think of anything to get each other, and we don’t want to just go out and buy crap.

  15. Ashley Says:
    December 10th, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Definitely spending less. The older I get the more I stray away from the commercialism that is Christmas. I’m done with buying people over priced crap at the last minute that they aren’t even going to use anyways.

  16. Sam Says:
    December 10th, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    We are spending more this year, but not a lot more, sort of an inflation adjustment. Mostly this goes to our kids and grandkids.

  17. Joe Says:
    December 10th, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Well, we’re probably spending the same dollar amount on gifts this year, but we’re saving a bundle by not flying across the country to visit in-laws.

  18. Christina Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 9:33 am

    I’m spending less but I’m still making sure that everybody has a present.

  19. Grace Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Christmas is a big-ticket-item, big-spend holiday for my family. Usually I budget $2000 and overspend it. Last year I stayed just within that budget. This year, I fully intend to spend no more than $1600. I am finding way more sales on the expensive goods this time around, so that, at least, is good.

  20. KC Says:
    December 13th, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    My husband and I went to NYC last week for our Christmas gift. So I guess you could say we’re spending more. But we don’t usually buy each other gifts – we don’t really need anything – we just usually do something “Christmasy” with each other. Spending about the same on family members – we only buy for our parents (4) and our siblings (3).

    I just don’t understand the overspending at Christmas. Why buy stuff for others – why not just go to dinner or have a small party with friends instead of exchanging gifts? Same with neighbors or other groups of people you associate with? My tennis friends and I just had a Christmas party – just us, no spouses or children – we had a great time.

  21. Single Guy Money Says:
    December 14th, 2009 at 9:30 am

    I’m spending about the same this year. I save throughout the year so my X-mas spending has already been accounted for.

  22. Maxine Singer Says:
    December 15th, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Definately spending less this year. My extended family plans to do a “white elephant” gift exchange this year and my kids, who are adults now, are getting one gift each. My grandson, who is 6, will still have lots of gifts under the tree. I have not put Christmas on credit for several years now, and spend only what I’ve managed to save, which is not much this year. But as far as I’m concerned, the most important part is being with my family.

  23. youngandthrifty Says:
    December 17th, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    I find that I am much more cognizant of my Christmas spending this year. I also find that I am trying harder this year to stay within my budget that I set out than previous years.