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2013 holiday spending expected to be more trimmed than trees

The trees may be decked as usual with the traditional icons of holiday cheer this year, but a Gallup poll suggests there might be fewer items under those trees. It turns out, perhaps not too surprisingly, that a lot of people are still experiencing financial hardship in the face of the slow post-recession recovery.

For some, debt relief may take the form of personal bankruptcy -- either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. For others, the bankruptcy option may not be the ideal and other solutions might be in order. Consulting an attorney with experience in the area of bankruptcy can help individuals explore all their options and find the right one.

As far as the 2013 holiday season goes, it appears that the majority of consumers are simply planning to control their spending carefully. 

According to the Gallup poll, 57 percent of respondents said they would be holding the line to what they spent last year, while 26 percent said they plan to spend less. Only 15 percent of respondents said they expect to spend more.

That may come as discouraging news to retailers who depend on sales in the final two months of the year to boost their bottom lines. But with the realities of the economy what they are, it doesn't surprise firms that track consumer activity. According to ShopperTrak, this year could be the weakest in terms of consumer spending since 2009. It projects sales will rise just 2.4 percent. They rose 3 percent in 2012 and were up 4 percent in 2010 and 2011.

Considering how important consumer spending is in driving our economy, it makes sense that a lot of energy would be spent analyzing it. But perhaps a little breather from all the data would help us focus more attention on being thankful and yield far more joy. 

Source:, "Americans Plan to Trim the Tree and their Holiday Budgets this Year," Kate Rogers, Nov. 15, 2013

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