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Published On: Mon, Jan 8th, 2018

Holiday Spending Shows that Politics Can’t Destroy Christmas

Despite a roller coaster ride through Washington in 2017, holiday spending shows that even politicians can’t destroy the spirit of Christmas. Early statistics show that 2017 holiday spending was up 3.8% over the previous year and the average spending per person surveyed was expected to be over $900. That figure reached an all-time high over the previous $866 in 2007, which was just prior to the crash leading up to the Great Recession.

photo/ Matheus Bertelli via pexels

With all the hubbub in D.C. and anti-Trump rallies around the nation, retailers went into the season cautiously but came out with large smiles on their bank accounts. However, that amount of spending may be cause for concern in the average household.

Have Americans Gone into Debt?

When you stop to consider that the national minimum wage is still only $7.25 per hour as mandated by law, $900 represents over three weeks of wages before taxes. This means that the average American who earns the minimum mandated federal wage spends approximately four weeks of wages for the holiday gift-giving season. Imagine spending one month’s wages on Christmas!

That probably left many shoppers in debt, which they will need to settle at some point in the coming year, only to cycle through debt again next holiday season. Even politics, with fighting across the aisles and a penchant for setting the minimum wage below the poverty level, can’t destroy the spirit of giving – but at what cost to the average household?

How Did Americans Pay for Gifts?

It can only be assumed that most Americans who qualify as low earners probably paid for holiday shopping on one or more credit cards. Being low to medium salaried workers, it is probable that many maxed several credit cards, including store cards like those from Penny’s, Sears, and Walmart. Now, on top of that $900 still owed, there is a huge amount of interest building up, which might put the average blue-collar worker in debt over their heads.

Is Getting Control of Debt Your New Year’s Resolution?

Sadly, the average family does go over their heads in debt during the holiday season, the only exception being at the height of fears at the beginning the Great Recession back in 2008 and 2009. That was the only year in recent history where spending was down (almost 5%!) on the previous year, which leads many of us to start looking for ways to pay off that debt. Perhaps that’s your New Year’s resolution, but even so, there are things you can do if you’ve gone a little (a lot?) overboard this year.

Perhaps the best advice would be to start looking for ways to pay down debt with less interest. What many experts suggest you do is find a reliable debt consolidation company so that you can get one loan to pay off all existing credit cards. It’s more manageable to remember one payment date, interest rates will be lower, and it is a good way to keep your credit history in good standing.

After all, Christmas shopping begins in just over 10 months now, so you need to worry about being caught up in time for Black Friday 2018. Having said all that, here’s hoping your holidays were the best ever and wishing all a prosperous and debt-free 2018.

Author: Lolita Di

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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