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Cautious Consumers Trim Holiday Gift Giving Budgets; CUs can Help Make it Easier for Consumers to Budget for Holidays
Thursday, October 24, 2013 8:55 AM

Faced with continued economic uncertainty and used to doing more with less, consumers will take a conservative approach to spending this holiday season. According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) holiday consumer spending survey, the average holiday shopper will spend $737.95 on gifts, décor, greeting cards and more, two percent less than the $752.24 they actually spent last year.

Jena Weld, marketing manager with Northeast Arkansas FCU, says they’re helping members cover the costs of the holidays with their Christmas Club Account.

“It’s a very popular product,” notes Weld. “Personally, if I didn’t take advantage of our Christmas Club Account, covering all of the expenses associated with Christmas would be very difficult.”

Christmas Club accounts offer convenient, systematic ways to save,” she continued.

In addition to promoting the Christmas Club Account, Weld says now is a great time for credit unions to be promoting their great loan rates.

“Consumers often times don’t realize just how much more money they could have in their pocketbook by refinancing those higher-interest rate loans,” she says. “I recall one member who refinanced a high interest auto loan with the credit union, and we were able to save that member thousands of dollars over the life of loan.”

In order to make room in their budgets this year, the NRF survey finds that consumers will cut back on “self-gifting,” or treating themselves to something because the deals are too good to pass up. When asked if they plan to take advantage of sales or price discounts during the holiday season to make additional non-gift purchases, 57 percent said yes, down from 59 percent last year. “Self-gifters” will spend an average of $129.62 this year, down from a survey high of $140.43 last year and $137.17 in 2011.

According to the survey, the biggest portion of shoppers’ budget will go towards gifts for family members, with the average person planning to spend $415.50 on mom, dad, and other loved ones, down slightly from the actual $423.36 they spent last year. Additionally, people will spend $72.14 on friends, $23.59 on co-workers and $25.63 on others, such as pets and community members. Consumers will also spend on food and candy ($100.35), greeting cards ($28.03) and flowers ($21.12). When it comes to decorations, the average person will spend $51.60. Total spending on holiday décor will reach $6.8 billion.