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New Citi Survey Shows That More Americans Say They Are Increasing – And Fewer Decreasing – Holiday Spending In 2013

Stretching Holiday Dollars

While consumers are eager to save, they are not taking full advantage of all of the opportunities to stretch their budget this holiday season. To manage holiday expenses, only one in five are comparing prices online and only 16 percent shopped early to get better deals. Social media listening, a key way to learn about good deals, is only currently being used by 8 percent of Americans. Credit cards with a price-back guarantee are only being used by 6 percent of consumers and only 5 percent are using their credit card reward points to purchase gifts.

The principal coping strategy for the holidays is to have a budget and to stick to it. Nearly half (45 percent) of consumers employ this strategy while others say they have a general idea of what they will spend but do not track every penny. Only 18 percent of Americans have committed to spending whatever it takes to ensure their families have a happy holiday.

“Americans may be leaving some simple holiday money-saving options on the table,” added Descano. “By comparing prices online, using credit card rewards to purchase gifts, and using social media to find the best deals, many still have time to stretch their holiday budget this year.”

Moving Forward and Organizing Financial Lives

American consumers have become financially savvy, already taking many steps to move their financial lives forward. To get their financial lives under control, 74 percent of consumers say they are paying their credit card bills on time and 68 percent are avoiding overdrawing their checking accounts. In order to properly position themselves for the future, the majority of Americans (71 percent) say they have been organizing their finances and more than half (59 percent) say they have adequate life insurance. More than half of Americans are protecting themselves against identity theft (56 percent), using mobile banking to keep track of their finances (54 percent), automating online bill-paying (52 percent), maintaining an emergency fund (52 percent) and signing up for paperless financial statements (51 percent).

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