Holiday Spending Plan for 2016

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Guess what I found out?

Based on statistics, the average U.S. Consumer spent about $ 830.00 on Christmas gifts last year. That is an increase from the $ 720.00 spent in 2014. During the “Great” Recession, in 2008, the average US Consumer spent $ 616.00 on Christmas. (I was curious)­­­­­­­­
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Of the 52% with added credit card debt, those who will not be paying it off immediately are projected to have it paid off by the end of May. I could not contain my excitement at this point and I had to chew on more numbers. (Bear with me)

Did you know?

  • Credit card debt of households in the US as of 1st Quarter 2009 was 2.63 Trillion
  • Credit card debt of households in the US as of 3rd Quarter 2015 was 3.5 Trillion

This had me questioning the changes in our financial behaviors. So I researched further and compared average Income, average savings, and average consumer debt and this is what I found…
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Although our economy seems to be showing signs of a rebound, the way we are rebounding shows an entirely new consumer behavior.  I for one must say, “Way to go!” We have started to spend again, but clearly not until we were comfortable, and had more saved.
The way we are spending has changed also. In 2014 online sales grew by 9%. In 2014, 44% of shopping and browsing was done online; in 2015 it was 46%. Noticing a trend, anyone? Of those who shopped online, 46.7% reported that free shipping and shipping promotions were an important part of their final purchase decision.
While what you just spent over the holidays is fresh in your mind, reflect and prepare for 2016. Did you make a list of all the Christmas expenses you had planned for 2015? Did you update it with what you actually bought and how much was actually spent? If you didn’t, it’s nitty gritty time!

Creating your 2016 plan:

  • Make a list of the people you spent money on this past Christmas and the amount you spent
  • Add up what you spent. If you need to make adjustments, now’s the time
  • Divide the total amount by the number of months prior to you having to spend the money. I used 8, because if counting February there are 8 months until September (when I like to shop online)

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  • I would suggest setting up direct deposit now for the monthly amount you need to save. You can have it payroll direct deposited or set up an automatic re-occurring transfer from your checking into your savings account
  • If you have not been the most disciplined saver in the past, try opening an account at a new bank or credit union that you do not have accounts with. And make sure it isn’t close to home or work and then set up the direct deposit. This will make it more difficult for you to take the money out
  • Many institutions may offer a “Christmas club” account designed for just this purpose

A few other trends:

  • With online growing, competition is fierce among retailers. It is driving down the cost which translates into savings for you
  • I noticed most online purchases were made in September and October, which would make sense to allow for shipping. So, I would keep your eyes open for deals during this time of the year. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have new competition and in some cases, the same deals
  • Always search for coupons or promo codes before completing your transaction. You’d be surprised at how easily you can get a discount these days if you look
  • Always try to get free shipping or ship to store for free, shipping can be a large expense

For those of you who can’t pay off the 2015 left over debt immediately, check out my article that gives you a step by step plan to knock it out:

Holiday Bills?

You may also meet with a certified Financial Services Specialist to help you create a budget and savings plan. Call us at 800-355-2227 or visit to schedule an appointment.
Resources provided by: magnifymoney, statista, National Retail Federation, Federal Reserve, US Treasury

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