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.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.