That's exactly what eBillme customers did by taking baby steps toward austerity since last holiday season. About 33% paid for last year's holiday purchases in cash, but 39% of those who didn't, paid for their purchases within three months. Since then, 36% of those holiday shoppers used their credit cards online less often in the past three months in favor of non-credit payment options.
Meanwhile, the number of Consumer Reports respondents who say they'll set a budget this year rose to 47%, with 42% of shoppers saying that getting the best prices on gifts is more important this year than it was last year. As a show of good faith, and perhaps a hedge against splurging for the second straight year, 31% of shoppers say they'll cut back on gifts for themselves this year. That doesn't mean they'll actually save the difference, though, as 57% of the National Retail Federation's holiday survey respondents say they'll take advantage of holiday markdowns to make additional non-gift purchases for themselves.
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Lingering holiday balances are just one example of how economic uncertainty is hovering over the country this holiday season. Those still carrying debt are among the 61.7% of consumers who told the National Retail Federation that economic conditions would be making their holiday shopping a little less merry this year. Of that group, 81% will be spending less, 40.6% will be using coupons more often and 31.5% will forgo buying new holiday decorations this season. Let that dark, dead section of lights on your porch or in your apartment this year stand as a symbol of your shame.