Ninety-four percent of consumers will spend the same or less on holiday gifts this year – most people between $200 and $500 - according to a just-released survey from Western Union Payments.
Findings from the latest Western Union Payments’ Money Mindset Index survey reveal:
KEY SURVEY FINDINGS:
· 30% of consumers have hidden a gift purchase from their spouse / significant other
· 60% will set a holiday budget
· 12% of consumers will spend nothing this holiday
· 32% will spend less on each person this year
· 19% will shop only at discount stores
· 22% say they would pay off debt, instead of buying gifts, if they had the choice; only
2% would save the money
· 20% will buy a holiday gift for their work colleague; 19% of those report they will do it because they feel obligated
· 6% admit they will give bosses, clients or colleagues gifts to gain favor in 2011
· 40% consider government the biggest ‘Scrooge’ this holiday
Regardless of how much you spend, what are the keys to avoiding a Holiday Financial Hangover in January? The following tips will help keep holidays happy and budgets on track:
HOLIDAY BUDGET TIPS:
First and foremost: Start planning today. Having a firm budget is the biggest foe of wallet-busting impulse buying. Let’s not stop there, however
· Ask people on your gift list if they have a “wish list” online. People who have wish lists on retail sites like Amazon.com usually have a large list with a spectrum of price points with something that would fit in your budget. Just do not forget to calculate in the shipping fees for the item prior to clicking “purchase.”
· Choose two to three websites to do all your holiday gift shopping. Shipping costs add up during the holidays, but most sites offer free shipping when you spend a specific amount of money. Shop at a few sites, and you are sure to get free shipping. Shopping online also reduces the opportunity for impulse buys that can blow a budget.
· Give the gift of cash. Giving loved ones prepaid gift cards – like cash - or wiring cash gifts helps you stick to your holiday budget. You won’t be enticed by store sales and promotions to spend more than you plan on a loved one. Also, prepaid gift cards are one-stop shopping.
· Make purchases with your own prepaid gift card. Before starting your holiday shopping, set a budget then buy a prepaid gift card for that specific amount. Make a promise to yourself that when the card is done, your shopping is done.
· Plan now to pay your December bills on time, so when holiday bills arrive in January, you have a fresh start. Take advantage of a same-day payment options to ensure just-in-time payments to billers and creditors.
· Shop for new gifts at consignment and thrift stores. Nowadays, a lot of major retailers donate brand new-in-the-box items that they do not have room at the store for anymore to local charities to sell at significant discounts. Your gift recipients will never know your budgeting secret!
· Stocks make great gifts, for the long term. Instead of buying designer jeans, jewelry,
MP3 players, CDs or home furnishings as gifts, give your loved ones stock in the actual company. Stocks are usually cheaper than what the company is selling and in a few years, your loved one may be able to buy double or triple what you could have given them this year.
· Review your list of gift recipients. Propose doing a Secret Santa scenario this year to your circle of friends or family and give one really great gift.
· Use holiday e-cards. When developing your holiday card list, consider sending e-to your circle of friends or family and give one really great gift.
· Prioritize credit card payments based on their respective interest rates. And remember to use same-day payment options to ensure just-in-time payments to billers and creditors to avoid late fees and interest.
The survey was conducted online in August, 2010 from a random sample panel of 3,000 respondents. The random sample survey targeted respondents based on representative proportions of geography, gender, age, income, and ethnicity as compared to the overall
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, as well as send payments and purchase money orders. The Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services are offered through a combined network of approximately 435,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories. In 2009, The Western Union Company completed 196 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $71 billion of principal between consumers, and 415 million business payments. For more information, visit http://www.westernunion.com.