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Save Big by Cutting Holiday Spending

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Wouldn't it be easier sometimes to not have to shop for Christmas? It sure would be nice to just enjoy roasted chestnuts, old music and making popcorn strings.

But this is America, and we like to spend. In fact, many experts note that the holiday season is when many of us start our forays into bankruptcy-inducing debt. Or to put it another way, the credit card companies love December.

There is no question that the commercial aspect surrounding the holidays make it exceptionally difficult to not get caught up in the haze of bargain-basement BluRay players and trendy wind-up hamsters. It seems every year the gift list grows by a few more folks. New nieces and nephews, a step-son or two maybe.

If debt is already making you worry about having to pay for holiday presents, don't be afraid to speak up. The holidays should be fun, not stressful. You may be surprised at just how many of your family members feel the same way about gift buying that you do.

So, have you wondered how much you could save by not buying gifts this year? Well, thankfully the people at Forbes.com put together a brief rundown of how you could probably better spend your debt-earned cash this year.

While spending is expected to be down this year, it will not match the 30 percent decline that happened between 2007 and 2008. According to Forbes, in 2008 we spent:

  • $431 on family members
  • $119.82 on ourselves
  • $94.52 on friends
  • $26.70 on co-workers
  • $43.50 on miscellaneous items

Grand total? $750.68. Surely that's money better spent on a Visa balance.

If you wanted to take the anti-holiday spending project to another degree, you could choose to not buy a Christmas tree this year, too. That will net you another $41.50 in savings. Understand, that is only the national average. Every corner stand in the Triangle has several $100.00 fir trees. Figure about $10 per foot.

Since Thanksgiving doesn't teach us anything about gluttony, despite how loudly we declare to never eat another bite, the subsequent holiday parties and cookie tins continually take their toll. Especially on our checking accounts. An organization called Information Resource, Inc. conducted a poll that found 94 percent of Americans plan to limit spending on holiday food to under $500.00. For beer, wine and liquor, the results showed that 90 percent of us only plan on spending $200.00.

Hate traveling during the holidays? Who doesn't? a 2008 Maritz poll found that people who make between $35,000-$250,000 a year will average $960.50 on holiday travel. That's hard to even think about. Try Skype and a Web cam this year. You're not exchanging gifts anyway, right?

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