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.
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.