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Consumer confidence boosts holiday spending budgets

December 16, 2018

A National Retail Federation survey found participants planned to spend more than $1,000 this holiday season, on average.

Wow! How do I get my name on their gift lists?

That sounds like crazy money to me ... but I’m probably also in denial about how much I’ll end up spending after the gifts, food, cards, decorations and other items are added up.

Record high consumer confidence is driving that shopping spree, according to the Washington-based trade group. Matthew Shay, the federation’s president and CEO, also credited low unemployment and higher take-home pay for nudging shoppers to open their wallets wide.

This year’s average budget of $1,007 is 4.1 percent higher than last year, the results showed. The survey of 7,313 adult consumers was conducted Oct. 1 to 11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

The results included a breakdown by category.

Spending for gifts is expected to average almost 215. And shoppers who take advantage of the deals and promotions throughout the season expect to spend slightly more than $150.

But just because consumers expect to spend that much doesn’t mean they should.

That’s the message being circulated by WalletHub, a personal finance website, which looked at income, age, and savings-to-debt ratio, among other factors.

After running the numbers, WalletHub recommends Fort Wayne residents cap their holiday budgets at $559, slightly more than half of the amount forecast in the national survey.

Now that’s a number I might be able to live with.

sslater@jg.net

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