Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Ho-Ho-How Much???

Holiday shopping season is in full swing. I was up near Alderwood mall this weekend and it was a madhouse. It definitely motivated me to get my shopping over with as quickly as possible, or just do it all online. Anything to avoid the traffic, the crowds and the endless loop of Christmas music.

According to the National Retail Federation , the average American consumer plans to spend approximately $738 this holiday season. I’m sure there is some kind of formula they use to come up with this figure, but most people don’t think about the calculations involved. They simply think that “average American consumer” means their friends and neighbors and every Tom, Dick and Harry. And this might make them feel that $738 is a reasonable amount of money to spend, which could be a huge mistake. For example, I have no business spending that kind of money. I only have three people in my life that I splurge on for Christmas, and I will probably spend about $100 on each of them. Then, I will spend between $10 - $15 on friends, and another $50 on charity. Overall, I might spend around $450, which is still a hefty amount of money.

Every person’s situation is going to be different, so I’m sure for some people the projected $738 might even be on the conservative side. But as a young adult with a modest salary, I think it’s best to plan ahead, look for sales, get creative (think homemade gifts) and don't go overboard.

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