Despite inflation and recession fears, 74% of consumers surveyed by professional services firm PWC said they plan to spend the same or more this holiday season as they did last year. The survey indicated consumers will spend an average of $1,440 this year.
The PWC survey indicated that some consumers, knowing they are going to have to stretch their holiday budgets, have started to cut back before the holiday season.
More than two-thirds of Charles Schwab retail clients say “general budgeting considerations” will be the most important factor when determining their holiday spending this year.
That is followed by inflation (46%) and concerns about a potential recession (30%). While most say they plan to spend about the same as last year, about a third will aim to spend less.
Patrick Means, vice president and branch manager at Charles Schwab’s Dallas branch, offered some tips on how to be generous without spending beyond the budget.
What’s your general advice for holiday spending?
“This holiday season determine the maximum amount you want to spend and find the right balance between spending on your holiday gifts and your long-term financial goals. Your gifts don’t always have to have a high price tag — you can show those you care about how much they mean to you in ways like spending quality time or creating experiences.”
What about charitable giving?
“When it comes to charitable giving, the way you give can be even more important than how much you give. For example, request a receipt if you donate $250 or more to a single charity. If the donation is in cash, you’ll need a receipt or supporting bank records, regardless of the amount.”
What if you’re traveling during the holidays?
“Be willing to go to the next town over from your destination for a cheaper hotel or fly at a less convenient time to cut money off the fare. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like everything has to be perfect — no matter the expense — when you go on vacation or travel for the holidays.”
What are some common mistakes people make when spending during the holidays?
“A common mistake is the failure to create a holiday spending plan. Review your budget and determine how much you can set aside in each paycheck in a dedicated holiday checking account between now and the holidays for costs of gifts, cards, decorations, wrapping paper and travel. It may mean cutting back on your spending in the weeks leading up to your holiday shopping in order to set aside those funds, so you don’t overspend and increase your credit card balance.”
What about after-holiday spending? Those deals can seem so good.
“You’ll be less likely to chase after the after-holiday deals you don’t need if you shop online. It’s tempting when walking through the aisles of your favorite store to add the must-have deals to your cart. You can combat this tendency by only shopping online so you aren’t faced with the same temptations in the store.”
Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.