Weekly Roundup: Christmas Spending Edition

Recession? What recession? I avoided the stores on Black Friday, but did venture out later in the weekend looking for a few deals. And the stores were absolutely packed. I know local economies vary significantly across the country, but I was a bit surprised to see all the shoppers out.

My surprise ended when I hit the checkout line. The plastic was flying. Of course, these days it’s hard to tell the difference between debit cards and credit cards, but the person in front of me used a Discover on about $600 worth of electronic goodies. Made me wonder if she had the $600 to pay off the bill when it arrived.

Which brings me to the larger question: Is all this positive spending really just Americans running their credit card balances back up, and our savings rates down? And so it goes, it seems, in the land of conspicuous consumption.

The Frugal Roundup

Stop Procrastinating and Start Kicking Butt. Need a swift kick in the butt? Try out these great tips. (@My Super-Charged Life)

What’s On Your Financial Dashboard? Having all of your financial information in one place makes a lot of sense. (@The Wisdom Journal)

6 Mistakes of New Earners and How to Fix Them. Most of us can relate to these early career financial mistakes. (@My Dollar Plan)

Making Buyers. Here is a quick lesson on the powers of advertising. If you leave your kid if front of the TV, they are going to walk away wanting something. (@The Simple Dollar)

Best of the Rest


  1. I don’t believe that spending itself is either good or bad. So I don’t applaud when I see numbers coming in that show that spending was greater than expected. Nor do I applaud to hear that spending was less than expected. My view is that thoughtful spending is good and that thoughtless spending is bad.

    People are being more thoughtful about their spending than they were pre-crash. But there is still lots of mindless spending going on. Which means that there will be another crash (mindless spending is not good for the economy, despite what some “experts” like to tell us).

    We are hurting ourselves. That’s sad. The more optimistic way to look at it is to see that we are in the early stages of learning what we need to learn to begin digging ourselves out of the pit we have built for ourselves. And, when we make it all the way out, there’s going to be a great power unleashed!


  2. I do like Dee and Holly — I use my cc all year and put EVERYTHING on it. I pay it off completely every month. The bonus for me is that the cash back is enough to pay for Christmas gifts this year! Score!

  3. I was wondering the same thing when I did a little shopping over the weekend. I’m sure there are still a lot of people out there running up credit card debt and living paycheck to paycheck. It is sad, but true. Thanks for mentioning my article about avoiding procrastination!

  4. It is interesting to think that this recession has really taught us very little in the way of fiscal responsibility. Instead, we reigned in our spending and cramped our style for a little bit and now that we think the end is on the horizon we revert back to our old ways. What can you do? Apparently this is how we want to live, as hyper-consumers on the verge of financial disaster and so it will be.

  5. I have personally saved enough to cover holiday expenses. I make a list, shop according to the allotted savings (or spend less than what’s been saved, ideally); I use credit for the extra cash rewards, price protection, extended warranty protection, etc.

  6. I agree with Holly. I wouldn’t be so quick to judge people who pay with plastic. I pay for everything with my credit card unless a store is cash only.
    By the end of the month, my bill could be $1,000 but that money is sitting in my checking account to pay the bill.

    On the other hand, the chance that this is the case for all of those people you saw is unlikely, considering average debt levels, but still. You never know 🙂

  7. Makes me sad to see these people racking it up. While at the same time talking about lack of finances. I hear it all the time. *sigh*

    This year, my husband & I are truly commited to not using the credit cards. Cash only. Even though we didn’t budget for Christmas shopping this year, we are doing okay. Sometimes it can be tough because I want to buy that “perfect gift” or stock up more for the kids. But, I keep telling myself it will all be worthwhile to do this for our family.

  8. I did most of my shopping online, so I used a credit card for the convenience, but we pay it off every month.

  9. I completed my shopping 2 weeks ago. I made myself a budget and stuck to walmart for everything.
    A cost savings for us…you buy 3 gifts each and all your family gets together and puts all the presents into a pile and everyone gets a number. By the end of the game everyone has 3 presents.
    Also, you can steal an item 2 times and then its yours and cannot be stolen again.
    It’s fun and saves a lot of money.
    I’m really on this savings kick since I read, “The Debt-Free Millionaire” by Anthony Manganiello. It’s full of great tips. You must check it out!