Holiday spending: How can we help?

If you're like most people, you are planning to scale back this holiday season. The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2008 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey predicts the lowest increase in planned consumer spending since the survey began in 2002. In addition, consumer confidence fell to an all-time low in October.

The NRF survey reveals that consumers plan to spend an average of $832.36 on holiday-related shopping, up what is described as a “paltry” 1.9 percent over last year’s $816.69. When you consider the fact that the consumer price index is higher by almost 5 percent over last year, the small increase in planned spending actually represents a decrease in buying power. Clear as mud, right? The bottom line is that we all need to think of creative ways to minimize the financial impact of this holiday season.

If you plan to change the way you approach the holidays, we'd love to hear from you. Our communication and education teams are busy preparing materials and tools to help consumers financially survive the holidays. What financial information or tools would be most helpful to you?

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.