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Companies are Also Cutting Back on Christmas Spending

It comes as no surprise that American consumers will be spending less this Christmas. However, it is still slightly worrying that even companies are significantly cutting back on holiday spending. Many workplaces around the country are skipping the annual Christmas party and are less generous with bonuses. Aside from spelling bad news to employees, it is also affecting contractors who make these parties happen.

James Kasper of Saz’s catering is feeling the pinch and he noted that “We’ve all had to work a little harder to bring some of that holiday spending into the catering business.” Meanwhile, many contractors in Milwaukee said that their business is down 30 percent this year because many companies are deciding not to have a party even if they were profitable throughout the year.

Some contractors noted that a lot of businesses can still afford to spend for the holidays but are deciding not to do it. Joe Bartolotta from the Bartolotta Restaurant Group said that companies are trying “to do the right thing socially”. They don’t want to have a beautiful party when a number of employees have been laid off. But beyond these companies, there is no doubt that a lot of establishments are really struggling.

To encourage these companies, catering businesses are offering attractive discounts and special deals. For example, packages that may have cost $60 before are being sold for $30 now or less. Companies that still want to have a Christmas party despite all the hurdles are finding some innovative ways to go about it. Hotels and other special places are not being rented out. Instead, they are holding private get-togethers. The Christmas spirit may be alive in the workplace yet.

Christmas Spending – Weekly Round-Up

Christmastime is often the season when personal finances are wrecked. Some people just throw commonsense out the winder because, well, it’s Christmas after all. Doing this is not only careless; it can also give you a year-long burden. This doesn’t necessarily mean though that you should stop holiday spending altogether. There are many ways to celebrate Christmas frugally. We have compiled a list of blog posts below that will help you spend the holidays wisely:

The blog My Super Charged Life featured a post titled “Stop Procrastinating and Start Kicking Butt”. For all the procrastinators out there, this post is very motivational. Start moving after you read these tips. If you have large, complicated tasks to do, don’t be intimidated. Instead, break it down into smaller tasks to avoid mental block. Multitasking is another mistake people make. Try to focus on one thing at a time until it’s finished. These tips are very timely especially during the busy holiday season.

Dana @ The Observer wrote an interesting blog post titled “Christmas Spending Woes”. Basically, she talked about how frenzied the season can become with all the shopping, cooking, and catching up that needs to be down. Meanwhile, the bigger economic impact of the holidays is also briefly looked into as she discussed a poll that revealed Americans intends to spend $638 on the average which is the same as last year.

The Shanghai Family Finance blog provided a lot of frugal tips in the post “Control Your Christmas Spending”. The post is quite helpful because it outlined a lot of practical guides. For instance, it said that you need to make a list, know your spending limit, and don’t use your credit card when shopping for gifts and other items. Every tip provided makes good financial sense especially with the tough economic conditions today.

E-Commerce Sales Might Go Up, But Not Enough

With almost every American feeling the pinch, every little bit counts. Some hopes are pinned on e-commerce sales in the United States. However, even as it toppled analysts’ sales estimates, it is unlikely to be large enough to change the outlook in holiday spending this season. According to Forester Research Inc, e-commerce represents only about 6 percent of total spending, while significant, it is not enough to offset the pace of decline in in-store sales.

Online retailers have a lot to be happy about though. Online sales are around 14 percent higher so far compared to last year. A lot of consumers are going online to compare holiday deals and search for discounts. As such, traditional retailers are given a chance to increase their sales by offering irresistible deals.

But people are not only looking for deals on the internet, they are also browsing in stores like Best Buy Co, Target, and Wal-Mart to save money. This year, more people visited stores during the Thanksgiving weekend but they spent less on average. The trend worries many retailers but they are coming up with ways to stay profitable.

According to the chief executive officer of Mercent Corp, “retailers are being aggressive with promotions and a low-cost assortment of goods and value-conscious consumers are responsive to those deals.” Mercent tracks sales associated with internet advertising from 120 merchants. That is, the number of clicks on internet ads that result in sales.

The last several days marked the start of the holiday shopping season in America. Black Friday, the first day after Thanksgiving, is traditionally the time when retailers start becoming profitable. This year, it was promoted as “Cyber Monday” because of the boost in internet shopping.

Holiday Spending – Should You Save Instead?

Individuals listening to politicians, looking at the movements of the stock market, and reading recent news reports almost inevitably get a boost in confidence. After all, “improvements” are being seen everywhere. But does the macroeconomic upturn really affect your daily life? It is good to have some level of optimism. It is a different matter altogether if you use this as an excuse to spend more or become irresponsible with your financial obligation.

Take note that even if the stock market improves, it does not necessarily mean that there is an improvement in the GDP, which is the factor that decreases unemployment. Spending too much money at this point is not only ill-advised; it can also be devastating to your finances. Also, try to ask yourself whether you really want to return to your old holiday shopping habits under these conditions. Some blogs that tackle this topic further are listed below:

Marketing Profs uploaded a recent blog post titled, “Weaker Online Holiday Spending Expected”. The article revealed that despite the improving economy, consumers will still hold on tightly to their money. Nielsen’s survey showed that 42 percent of consumers intend to spend less this year compared to last years. In addition, they will spend a smaller percentage of their budget online.

The Project Economy Blog has an interesting article titled “Investors Eye Consumers’ Holiday Spending”. While research shows that shoppers will spend less this year because of the difficult economic times, the number of buyers will actually increase. It also talked about the importance of holiday shopping because most retail outlets rely on it for 40 percent of their profit. The actions of consumes during this period can make or break the industry.

Kelly from Almost Frugal asks her readers “How Much Are You Spending for the Holidays?” She recounts her own family’s experience when it comes to spending. This is a more personal blog post because she talked about how her family coped with spending for birthdays, weddings, Thanksgiving, and anniversaries.

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