Great Holiday Gifts, On The Cheap - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Great Holiday Gifts, On The Cheap

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The pressure is on to find those perfect presents, but this year, most families are feeling the financial pinch and have to cut back on how much we plan to spend. \r\n\r\nThis holiday season, expect to see fewer gifts under the tree. According to Consumer Reports, more than three-fourths of us plan to spend less than years past on everything from presents to parties to decorations.\r\n\r\n"People said they are going to be cutting back this year, but they expect to have just as happy a holiday if not a happier holiday, so they are probably re-focusing on the important things - spending time with family and friends," Mandy Walker of Consumer Reports said.\r\n\r\nWhile they may be spending time, they won't necessarily be spending money on friends and family - at least not as much of it.\r\n\r\n"People are going to think, 'Who do I have to buy for?'" one shopper said.\r\n\r\n"I have to scale it down, and it's sad, because Christmas brings out the best in everybody," Escondido resident Ronni Bethea said.\r\n\r\nIn fact, the Ghost of Christmas Past is still haunting a lot of families financially. Consumer Reports finds that 12 million Americans are still paying of their credit card debt from last winter.\r\n\r\nTo have a happy holiday without going in the hole, Consumer Reports recommends making - and sticking to - a budget. Using cash or your debit card is a good way to spend only what you have. For those who are short on cash, but not creativity, homemade crafts or baked goods may be the way to go. Also, re-gifting presents is gaining popularity. Experts say it's not only free, it's also good for the environment. \r\n\r\nIf you're hitting up the stores, arm yourself with a detailed list beforehand, and avoid waiting until the last minute to do the bulk of your holiday buying.\r\n\r\n"So you're scrambling, and that creates overspending and that buyer's anxiety, so you want to avoid it by getting a really detailed list and sticking with it," Walker said.\r\n\r\nConsumer Reports also recommends giving cash and gift cards as a way of staying on budget. Phone cards and gas cards are especially popular with teens and young people.\r\n
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