A poll conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) showed that half of the respondents plan to curb their spending this holiday season, while a little more than a third said they won’t spend anything at all for the holidays, according to last month’s NFCC’s Financial Literacy Opinion Index.
What’s the reason behind this Scrooge-like attitude? In a word: finances. Respondentswho said they don’t plan to open their wallets for the holidays said financial distress was the reason. And the ones that will be spending less than usualsaid that they were worse off financially this year than last.
All told that’s 87% of respondents with a pretty bleak financial outlook through year’s end. But believe it or not, that’s an improvement over last year when 91% of those polled said they were either not planning to spend or were going to dial back on purchases.
And the survey says
The poll was taken by 1,413 people.Here is how they responded to: “ This holiday season I will…”
– cut back on spending, since I am worse off financially this year 50%
– not spend at all, because I anticipate further financial distress 37%
– spend as I did last year because my financial life is stable 11%
– spend more than last year because I am in a better financial position 3%
Retailers count on holiday spending to boost sales, so while tightening belts may be the best thing for consumers, the gloomy forecast might spell bad news for the economy. Consumers who still plan to spend, and others who change their mind at the last minute, might want to lower their holiday bills with cash back rebates from their credit card issuers. Discover, for example, is offering 5% cash back on all online purchases, while Chase Freedom offers 5% back at Best Buy and Kohl’s. Citi Dividend (offer has expired) offers 5% cash back at Macy’s as well as any toy or electronics store. Even though it’s the season for giving, it’s nice to get a little something back.