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Poll: Many will cut back or spend zero for holiday

Statement as issued Tuesday by FinancialHope Counseling and Education in Fort Wayne:

Fort Wayne, IN – The November poll hosted on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) website queried consumers regarding holiday spending. The results revealed that 50 percent of consumers intend to spend less on holiday purchases this year than last, indicating they are in a worse financial position, while thirty-seven percent plan to spend nothing at all, as they fear further financial distress.

While this total of 87 percent is a shocking number, when asked the same question in 2011, 91 percent of respondents indicated their intention was to cut back or spend zero on holiday gifts, demonstrating a positive year-over-year trend.

“This statistic speaks loudly, and underscores that consumers are not willing to repeat the mistakes of Christmases past by spending irresponsibly this year,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC.

A seemingly contradictory statistic was revealed in the NFCC’s October poll where 70 percent of those participating felt that their best financial days were in front of them. Taken together, the two polls suggest that Americans are both optimistic and realistic, a combination that could lead to a brighter financial future.

“It takes optimism to endure the difficult economic times of the past few years,” continued Cunningham. “However, it takes a dose of realism to not become an emotional spender during the holidays. It appears as though consumers have learned a tough lesson, and will emerge better equipped to face future financial challenges.”

Looking at the other poll answer options, 11 percent intend to spend as they did in 2011, stating that their financial situation is now stable, while 3 percent will spend more, feeling as though they are in a better financial position this year. Holiday spending can financially make or break retailers. The same is true for consumers. Don’t let it be your personal fiscal cliff.

For help developing a holiday budget, controlling spending, or any other personal finance concern, please contact FINANCIALHOPE COUNSELING AND EDUCATION at 260-432-8200 or toll free 800-432-0420. We can also be reached at www.financialhope.org. Our Fort Wayne office is located at 4105 West Jefferson Boulevard in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

FinancialHope Counseling and Education is a non-profit community service founded in Fort Wayne in 1965, and a local member of the NFCC. FinancialHope Counseling and Education is committed to helping people gain control of their finances by providing free budget counseling, Debt Management Programs, Financial Education, HUD approved Housing Counseling, approved Pre-File Bankruptcy Counseling and Education.

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