It’s hard enough to scrimp up enough discretionary cash to pay for holiday gifts. But for Ben Tischler of New York City, getting ready for the holidays also means preparing to wed his fiancee, Alicia.
It has been especially taxing since he learned that jewelry prices would be higher this season.
“Everything was more expensive than I expected. The jeweler told me the price of gold has skyrocketed,” Tischler says. “This clearly isn’t the kind of thing I can wait to buy to see if prices come back down, so I bit the bullet.”
This holiday season could be a mixed bag for consumers, retail experts say. Electronics such as big-screen televisions keep going down, but if you want that laptop that turns into a tablet — Microsoft Surface, anyone? — or that fancy new camera, expect to pay a bit more than last year. And some traditional gift items could also take more of a bite out of your wallet as stores tap into the growing trend of using well-known designers or celebrities to hawk their goods.
All in all, prices are about 2 percent higher than last holiday season, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here are eight things that will cost you more this season.
Despite a whittling away of consumer debt that has been underway since the recession, many Americans are still entering the holiday season unprepared to cope with the expenses that crop up around this time of year.
Think Finance, a provider of payday loans and other financial services for consumers with limited or no access to banking services, recently surveyed 1,000 Americans across all income levels who use various forms of alternative financial services — including payday loans, prepaid debit cards and direct deposit advances.
Although many of these consumers are on better financial footing and optimistic about their economic future this year, the holidays are still a source of stress and strain on their precarious finances, Think Finance said in the poll.
Some 45 percent of those polled said the holiday season brings so much financial pressure, they would prefer to skip it altogether. Almost half said their level of stress related to holiday expenses is high or extremely high.
That’s probably because nearly the same amount — some 45 percent — say they do not expect to have enough money set aside to cover holiday expenses.
They’ve moved it forward a week.
A sharp drop in shopping since Thanksgiving weekend has prompted worried retailers to slash prices, extend specials, stay open later — and rewrite the calendar.
Usually one of the most heavily discounted shopping days of the year, the Saturday before Christmas — it falls on Dec. 24 this year — is too crucial to retailers’ holiday sales to be left in the hands of procrastinating Christmas Eve shoppers. Instead, many of the promotions pegged to “Super Saturday,” as the day is known in the retail industry, are now scheduled for this Saturday — a full eight days before Christmas.
But not all stores are making the switch. And that is creating a good amount of confusion in the retail world.
Strange Random Christmas Shopping Quote:
One good thing about Christmas shopping: it toughens you for the January sales. – Grace Kriley
- As Sales Lag, Stores Shuffle the Calendar (nytimes.com)
- Shopping During The Prime of The Christmas Season (socyberty.com)
- Christmas shopping prospects doubt sets in as November figures show low consumer confidence (mirror.co.uk)
- Not Another Guide for Christmas Shopping (theindustrycosign.wordpress.com)
- Christmas shopping rush equals to adrenaline rush.. (sassymom1925.wordpress.com)
Are retailers starting the Christmas shopping season too early this year?
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Strange Random Retailer Quote:
“You have to have some boundaries to what you define yourself as, and ours is ‘Can we sell it to you’?” – Andrew Higginson, (now ex-) TESCO Chief Executive, Retailing Services, on the company’s move into banking
- Tesco board veteran Higginson to step down (independent.co.uk)
- Tesco director Andrew Higginson resigns after missing out on top job (telegraph.co.uk)
- Tesco enters used car market (confused.com)
- Anticipate your Christmas shopping season! (almofadassandrix.wordpress.com)
- Is it too early for Christmas shopping? (bbc.co.uk)
- Open House Set for Christmas in Maxwell (pr.com)