Shoppers Stressing Over Debt

Add debt-related stress to recession worries and it could be a Santa-to-Scrooge holiday season for many Americans.

An Associated Press-GfK poll finds that 93 percent of responders say they'll spend less or about the same as last year. Half say they're suffering at least some debt-related stress, and 22 percent say they're feeling it greatly or quite a bit. That second figure is up from 17 percent just last spring.

Unemployment has rocketed past 10 percent, making it harder to pay monthly bills, home foreclosures have spiked and defaults on credit cards are rising.

Most people -- 80 percent -- say they'll use mostly cash to pay for their holiday shopping, and that generally means buying less.

One expert says cash is a major governing force on spending, because one can't spend more than one has. Credit cards allow people to make more impulse buys.

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  • by Anonymous on Nov 25, 2009 at 04:39 PM
    Why do you people care what other people spend on their family for Christmas? I don't care if someone spends their whole paycheck on a gift. If it makes them happy then I am happy. If you do not want to buy gifts this year don't, but don't tell other people not to buy them.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 24, 2009 at 03:11 PM
    I thought it was "Trix are for kids" lol
  • by Scrooge Location: Greenville on Nov 24, 2009 at 12:06 PM
    Bah Humbug.....Ready for the holidays to be OVER!
  • by marine mom Location: washington on Nov 24, 2009 at 11:59 AM
    If you are worried about money and you dont have it... dont spend it.. no credit cards here.. spend wisely.... I also heard this morning that you can give a gift towards the federal debt....just write them a check it said.... yeah right!!!!
  • by Audra Location: SoCal on Nov 24, 2009 at 10:12 AM
    Glen, ty so much. Most people either have no idea or do not care. You're educated on the facts. My studies showed around the end of our calendar Sept. but that's not far from early Oct. so it could be either one. Whichever the case, it was definitely not December. ;-) I tell you what I'm doing this year.. There's only one person I'm making a big effort on for presents, & it isn't a even family member. It's also not something flatly storebought, but rather items that have sentiment & require some work with my own hands - far more meaningful for someone I love so dearly. I'm not even stuck on the particular day so much as wanting to get it sent out before holiday shipping slows things down. I also have things set aside for my niece (since she is still young) that I already owned & know she will appreciate. Anyone else is old enough to understand the reality of expenses & that it's just not necessary for everyone to have something for every single person they know. No shopping = no stress.
  • by Layed off and hating it! on Nov 24, 2009 at 09:57 AM
    Lighting up people christmas is for kids.Were any of you ever kid.I'm 44 and all I WANT is a smile on there face.Spare the Pysco-Babble.
  • by Derek Location: Greenville on Nov 24, 2009 at 07:52 AM
    Great point Glen. I recommend people make their own gifts instead of buying something for someone. All we are doing is feeding the consumer machine.
  • by anon Location: wallace on Nov 24, 2009 at 07:26 AM
    Christmas used to be, being with family and friends and the reason we celebrated Christmas was the birth of it seems to be who can stand in line at the electronic stores and area malls to save $25 on an item that was made so popular that people would get killed or stampeded on when the doors open.what have we as a society come to? the fulfillment of the it and see. any way MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!
  • by NO Location: NO on Nov 24, 2009 at 07:13 AM
    Just say "NO" to christmas gifts this year. So much more to christmas than gift giving/receiving. Say "No" to Holliday deals at Walmart..."NO" to cool electronics at Best Buy...."NO".."NO".."NO" to spending period. SAVEEEEEEEEEEEEEE YES!!!!!!! Remember..the URGE to spend hits..just say "NOOOOOO" NOOOOOO. NO NO NO no no no
  • by Glen Location: Greenville on Nov 24, 2009 at 06:51 AM
    Jess, You are more corect than you realize. Dec 25 is actually a celebration of the birth of the sun. Saturnalia was a week long festival that ended on Dec 25 with Solstice Invictus or "Day of the Invincible Sun" Since the days started getting longer the pagans thought that their sun god was coming back to life and they exchanged many gifts, merrymaking and even decorating of trees. Catholics picked this day to celebrate so that they could get the pagans into church. In fact it was illegal to celebrate Christmas in Boston some 200 years ago. Since the shpeherds were in the field at night and with other evidence, experts think that Jesus might have been born sometime in the first couple of weeks in October. Hope this helps
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