Now that Halloween is over, the holiday shopping season can begin in earnest. And, a new survey shows, American consumers plan to be mindful about spending this holiday season: They're more likely to use cash and make a budget than they were last year.
According to the USAA Foundation – the research arm of financial-services company USAA – 76 percent of people expect to make and stick to a budget this year. In 2009, just 56 percent of consumers budgeted at the holidays.
And an overwhelming majority expects to make all their holiday purchases with cash. Ninety percent of people plan to use only cash when buying gifts, 5 percentage points more than last year.
Consumers are hunkering down this holiday season, USAA financial planner Joseph Montanaro says. "It's especially important for shoppers to remember basic money principles – like living within your means – as we enter the season of spending," he notes.
More and more people, it seems, are realizing that responsible money management is a year-round endeavor. Debt, after all, doesn't take a holiday break.