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Holiday Spending

Fourth of July weekend spending to top $7 billion

Those who plan to travel this weekend may encounter high gas prices and the occasional station without gas

This Fourth of July weekend, consumers are expected to spend $7.5 billion on food, drinks, and other celebrations of U.S. independence. That comes out to an average of about $80 per person, according to the National Retail Federation. 

The NRF’s annual Independence Day spending survey drew responses from 7,893 consumers. The organization said it found that 84% of consumers plan to celebrate Independence Day this year -- an increase from 2020’s figure of 76%. 

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    Holiday spending showed a modest increase in 2020

    The pandemic changed how consumers shopped and what they bought

    Consumers spent more on the holidays than last year, but not by much. In this season shaped by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Mastercard’s SpendingPulse report shows that sales between November 1 and Christmas Eve grew by 2.4 percent year-over-year.

    “American consumers turned the holiday season on its head, redefining ‘home for the holidays’ in a uniquely 2020 way,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard.

    Sales from online shopping grew by a staggering 49 percent. That was hardly a surprise, though, since consumers hunkering down at home were ordering just about everything online.

    What consumers purchased this season was also a bit different. The report shows spending was down on traditional gift items -- notably apparel -- and much higher for home furnishings. In fact, home furniture and furnishings saw the strongest growth of any sector compared to 2019, up 16.2 percent. Online spending for the home surged 31 percent compared to last year.

    People working from home apparently decided they don’t need to dress up. Clothing sales sank 19.1 percent while electronics and appliances were up 6 percent overall.

    Department stores were the big losers because fewer consumers ventured out to malls and shopping centers. Sales were down 10.2 percent year-over-year, though stores with an online channel saw their online sales increase by 3.3 percent.

    Earlier start, earlier end

    Consumers spread their shopping over a wider period this year. A number of major retailers, including Amazon and Walmart, staged promotions in October. The numbers show consumers took advantage of those earlier opportunities.

    “Across our expanded 75-day holiday shopping season, sales were up 3 percent, a testament to the holiday season and strength of retailers and consumers alike,” Sadove said.

    Because so many shoppers depended on shipping, the season drew to a close this year a lot earlier than in the past. After Black Friday, the top shopping day was December 12 -- one of the last days shippers would guarantee delivery before Christmas.

    December 21, the Monday before Christmas, was the third-biggest shopping day in 2019. This year, it didn’t even crack the top 10.

    Consumers spent more on the holidays than last year, but not by much. In this season shaped by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Mastercard’s SpendingPu...
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    USPS warns that package deliveries could be delayed due to huge spike in demand

    Officials say consumers can still get their packages delivered on time if they follow USPS’ suggestions

    The pandemic-led upsurge in online shopping has put the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in a serious crunch, leading agency employees and postal industry tracking firms to warn shoppers not to put too much hope in having all their gifts under the tree by December 25. 

    Making matters worse, the Washington Post reports that private express carriers FedEx and UPS have completely cut off delivery service for some retailers, sending tons of packages to USPS, which bogs down the system even further.

    “We’re really gridlocked all over the place,” a Postal Service transportation manager in Ohio told the Post. “It’s bad. I’ve never seen it like this before.” Things are bad enough that one Grinch’y USPS carrier reportedly dumped 19 packages in the garbage in a Chicago woman’s trash can.

    Letter carriers in Detroit and Philadelphia said that some of their peers have been assigned two eight-hour routes each day, and some offices have gone as far as rerouting employees to other facilities to try and get caught up. 

    “I don’t think anyone, including the post office itself, knows just how bad delays are,” the Philadelphia carrier said.

    This week is make it or break it

    The USPS tried to put its best foot forward in a press release, saying that it’s continuing “to flex our network, including making sure the right equipment is available to sort, process and deliver a historic volume of mail and packages this holiday season.” But past that spin, it laid out exactly what consumers should expect from the agency. 

    Shipping deadlines: The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by Dec. 25 to domestic U.S. addresses and Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office addresses:

    Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service

    Dec. 18 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express service

    Dec. 18 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)

    Dec. 18 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)

    Dec. 19 — Priority Mail service

    Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express service*

    Packages to Alaska and Hawaii have separate deadlines and are available here.

    *Not a guarantee, unless otherwise noted. Dates are for estimated delivery before Dec. 25. Actual delivery date may vary depending on origin, destination, Post Office acceptance date and time, and other conditions. Some restrictions apply. For Priority Mail Express shipments mailed Dec. 22 through Dec. 25, the money-back guarantee applies only if the shipment was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted, within two business days.

    Weekend delivery: USPS already delivers packages on Sundays in most major cities and will continue to do that. 

    Christmas Day delivery: For an additional fee, mail carriers will also deliver packages on December 25 in select locations.

    Expanded hours: Available in select locations

    Expanded package delivery window: “Where volume warrants,” USPS will deliver outside of its normal times, including in the morning, afternoon, and early evening.

    Busiest mailing and delivery days: Crunch time is officially here. This week, December 14-21, is predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping, and delivery week.

    Tips to help improve the chances of an on-time delivery

    The Postal Service realizes that being in crunch time puts guaranteed delivery times in an iffy position, but it says there are a few things consumers can do to better their chances.

    Skip the trip and ship online: “Consumers don’t have to leave home to ship their packages. In these socially distant times, they can simply visit usps.com or use the Click-N-Ship feature for help shipping that holiday gift, ordering free Priority Mail boxes, printing shipping labels, purchasing postage and even requesting free next-day Package Pickup,” the service said, adding that usps.com is “always open.” 

    Use free Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes: This is available for free at Post Office locations or online at www.usps.com/freeboxes.

    Make it easy with Click-N-Ship: If you have a computer, you can create shipping labels and pay for postage online at www.usps.com/ship.

    Schedule a free Package Pickup when the carrier delivers your mail:  This seldom-used tip might be worth its weight in gold for those who hate standing in line. More importantly, it’s free regardless of the number of packages. Pickups can be scheduled at www.usps.com/pickup

    One important note, though: Mail and packages that weigh more than 10 ounces or are more than a half-inch thick and use stamps as postage cannot be dropped into a collection box or left for a carrier to pick up. Instead, people have to take them to a local Post Office.

    The pandemic-led upsurge in online shopping has put the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in a serious crunch, leading agency employees and postal industry tracki...
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    Nearly 40 percent of Americans plan to spend less this holiday season, survey finds

    Many consumers cited pandemic-related reasons for cutting back on spending

    Around 40 percent of U.S. consumers plan to spend less than they normally do on gifts this holiday season, according to a survey from CNBC. 

    The organization polled 800 Americans as part of its All America Economic Survey and found that the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is causing many consumers to cut back on spending. 

    The survey found that 39 percent of consumers will spend less this holiday season, while just 11 percent plan to spend more than usual. The average American plans to spend $886, which is a 10 percent decrease from planned holiday spending last year. 

    In 2017, the same survey found that 25 percent of Americans planned to cut back spending during the holidays, and 18 percent said they would spend more.

    Wealthiest Americans showing most restraint

    This year, the reasons consumers cited for spending less were: 

    • Loss of wages or income (29 percent)

    • The coronavirus (19 percent)

    • The economy (17 percent)

    • A need to save money (16 percent)

    CNBC’s survey showed decreased spending plans across all income brackets. However, the survey suggested that “the wealthiest Americans could be holding back the most” this year.

    “It does seem like those Americans earning over $100,000 are holding back a little bit more than they did in 2019,” said Hart Research Associates partner Jay Campbell.

    That caution could be rooted in uncertainty regarding how next year will play out economically. A third of respondents said they believe the economy will get worse in 2021. Republicans were found to have a more pessimistic outlook about the economy while Democrats’ outlook has grown more positive since the election of former Vice President Joe Biden. 

    Online spending surge

    The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant jump in the number of consumers planning to do their shopping online this holiday season. CNBC’s survey found that 55 percent of respondents plan to do most of their shopping online, compared with 43 percent a year ago. 

    “It’s the biggest gain in the 14 years of the survey and follows a three-year plateau in that metric. It’s also the first time more than half of respondents favored online shopping,” the report noted. 

    Around 40 percent of U.S. consumers plan to spend less than they normally do on gifts this holiday season, according to a survey from CNBC. The organiz...
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    Holiday shopping season moves slowly at retailers but continues at a fast pace online

    The deals aren’t done yet -- there’s still ‘Green Monday’ left

    The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be affecting the holiday shopping season. 

    A new study from the National Retail Foundation (NRF) shows that the average U.S. shopper spent 14 percent less this year at physical stores than in 2019 from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.

    However, on the flip side, Black Friday and Saturday saw substantial growth in online activity. For the first time ever, the number of online Black Friday shoppers eclipsed the 100 million mark, up 8 percent over last year. The online shoppers were even more aggressive on Saturday, shooting up 17 points compared with last year. 

    Overall, online-only shoppers increased by 44 percent for the entire weekend, for a total of 95.7 million.

    Consumers are buying earlier

    With more people shopping online and the threat of the pandemic still peaking in early fall, some retailers decided to roll their deals out earlier so that they had additional time to make course corrections if needed. Some examples included moves made by Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, which all offered Black Friday prices at the same time as Amazon Prime Day in mid-October.

    The NRF said that motivated 52 percent of holiday shoppers to take advantage of early holiday sales and promotions this year. Of those who did, 38 percent said they checked off holiday purchases in the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Fifty-three percent felt that promotions over the Thanksgiving weekend were pretty much the same as they had been earlier in the season.

    Watch out for “Green Monday”

    There’s still a couple of weeks before Santa comes, and retailers aren’t ready to put their carrots and sticks back in the closet quite yet.

    It may come as a surprise, but there’s something called “Green Monday” that experts say is the second-best day for online holiday deals. It’s also the biggest online shopping day in all of December. 

    Green Monday falls on the second Monday of the month, which would check in this year on December 14 — or 10 shipping days before Christmas. Walmart, Target, and Amazon are all gearing up for Green Monday, and the competition is expected to be fierce.

    “Green Monday is receiving more competition from sales extended through Cyber Week,” said TheBalance’s Kimberly Amadeo. “With Amazon Prime and other services, shoppers can wait until closer to Christmas to buy online and have their purchases arrive on time. But Green Monday is still a good bargain, with retailers offering substantial discounts from regular prices.”

    For you useless information hounds, “Green Monday'' gets its name from eBay. In 2007, the site experienced one of its biggest sales days on the second Monday of December. In honor of that rolling-in-the-green milestone, it gave the day its now colorful name. 

    The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be affecting the holiday shopping season. A new study from the National Retail Foundation (NRF) shows that the average...
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    Giving stock as holiday gifts could pay off for both the giver and the recipient

    There are some rules you should know when gifting stock, but they’re fairly easy to follow

    For people looking for something unique to add to their Christmas wish lists, analysts and financial managers say they should consider shares of stock -- a gift that has the potential to keep on giving.

    “Gifting stocks can be a great way to teach children or grandchildren about saving and investing, or a fun way of creating interest in the stock market, a company, or a particular industry,” says Eva Victor, director of wealth planning at Girard, a wealth management firm in the Philadelphia area.

    One of the greatest advantages of gifting stock to a child is the tax benefit. Under the annual gift exclusion, individuals are allowed to give up to $15,000 annually (for 2020 and 2021) to any number of recipients without incurring a gift tax.

    How to buy and gift stock

    Giving stock isn’t something that requires a master’s degree, but there are some rules to pay attention to so you stay on the right side of the law.

    If you’re thinking of giving stock to a child, Bankrate turned ConsumerAffairs onto a few options for how to make things as easy as possible:

    • Purchase stock specifically for a child. That can be done simply by using a custodial account over which you have control. A minor child should have a custodial account, while an of-age child may have a regular account. “While you could transfer the stock as physical certificates, it’s merely a novelty and pricey to do so, too,” said James Royal, Bankrate.com analyst and author of “The Zen of Thrift Conversions.”

    • Give stock from an existing investment account. Bankrate suggests contacting your broker to help make the transfer electronically or by stock certificate. Again, the recipient should have a brokerage account to receive the stock.

    • Give stock with an app. Many online brokers offer apps that allow you to give stock.

    The sky is NOT the limit

    If you’re sitting on a pile of cash and looking for the tax break of the century, there are some definite upsides, but you need to get a hold of yourself because there are legal thresholds that could cause tax headaches if you go over the limit. 

    Under the annual gift exclusion, you can safely give stock to any number of children (or anyone for that matter) without incurring a gift tax as long as you don’t go over the $15,000 limit per year. 

    “A couple (meaning a husband and wife separately) could gift up to $30,000 to every child and grandchild under this exclusion,” says Victor. “Any unused annual gift exclusion doesn’t carry over to later years.”

    The IRS offers a full set of FAQs on gift taxes. If you’d like to find out more, those answers are available here.

    For people looking for something unique to add to their Christmas wish lists, analysts and financial managers say they should consider shares of stock -- a...
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    Cyber Monday 2020 sets new spending record with over $10 billion in sales

    It was the largest online shopping day in U.S. history

    This year, Cyber Monday spending was widely expected to smash records -- and it did just that. 

    According to a report from Adobe Analytics, consumers spent $10.8 billion online on Monday, setting a record for the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history and beating last year’s $9.4 billion Cyber Monday record. 

    Adobe, which analyzes website transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers, said consumers got some of the biggest discounts on computers (28 percent), sporting goods (20 percent), toys (19 percent), appliances (20 percent), and electronics (27 percent). 

    With the pandemic still keeping people at home, many consumers purchased toys and electronics to keep family members entertained. Some of the top sellers in the toy category included Lego Sets, vTech Toys, and scooters. In the electronics category, top sellers included Apple AirPods, Apple Watches, HP & Dell Computers, and Chromecast.     

    Key insights

    Adobe said it expects online shopping and curbside pickup to continue to be used more often this holiday season compared to years past. On Monday, Adobe said the number of orders placed online and picked up curbside was up 30 percent from a year ago.

    “Throughout the remainder of the holiday season, we expect to see record sales continue and curbside pickup to gain even more momentum as shoppers avoid crowds and potential shipping delays,” said Taylor Schreiner, a director at Adobe Digital Insights.

    The firm said a significant percentage of Cyber Monday purchases (37 percent) were made on smartphones, continuing a trend that has emerged over the past few years. Researchers noted that early discounts offered by retailers during the weeks leading up to Cyber Monday didn’t have a major impact on the day’s spending totals. 

    “Cyber Monday continued to dominate the holiday shopping season, becoming the biggest online shopping day in US history, despite early discounts from retailers,” Schreiner said.

    This year, Cyber Monday spending was widely expected to smash records -- and it did just that. According to a report from Adobe Analytics, consumers sp...
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    FTC offers tips for holiday shopping in 2020

    Consumers are reminded to look out for scams and do their research to save money

    While Black Friday may represent the official start to the holiday shopping season for many consumers, there are many people who are already scouring online sites to get good deals on products for their friends and family. To help in that effort, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published a blog post with various tips to keep in mind. 

    Shameka Walker, an attorney with the FTC’s Division of Consumer & Business Education, says that holiday shopping has taken on a new shape this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Because of COVID-19, it’s likely that we’ll be going online to look for those perfect gifts. With so many deals around and what seem like eternal ‘Black Friday’ sales, it’s important to keep some online shopping tips in mind,” she said. 

    Holiday shopping tips

    Walker says one of the most important things to do if you’re planning to shop from home is to make sure your computer is outfitted with up-to-date antivirus software. Computer security, in general, is something that the FTC takes very seriously, and it has published a comprehensive list of things consumers can do to make sure their cybersecurity is up to snuff. 

    ConsumerAffairs also has several resources focused on helping consumers protect themselves against threats like identity theft.

    Other tips Walker provides include things that consumers can do when doing their actual shopping to ensure that they’re getting the best deal and keeping themselves safe. They include:

    • Taking time to compare products. If you know that there’s a product out there that you’ll want to get for the holidays, don’t be content to buy it from the first source you look at. Shopping around can allow you to save money that can be used for other gifts or to sock away for a rainy day. 

    • Checking out sellers. Going hand-in-hand with comparing products is the necessity of checking out who is selling you a product. Sites like ConsumerAffairs can allow you to look up reviews about a company to ensure that you’re buying from a legitimate source. 

    • Looking for coupon codes. There’s more than one way to get a good deal. While steep discounts are always nice, finding an eligible coupon can be another way that you can increase your savings. 

    • Paying by credit card. Paying for online purchases with a credit card gives consumers protection under the Fair Credit Billing Act. This allows you to dispute certain charges and limits the amount of money that a hacker or scammer can potentially steal from you in the event of a cybersecurity lapse. 

    • Using secure checkout. You’ll want to make sure that the site you’re using to buy a product is protected by enhanced security protocols. One easy way to check for this is by checking the site’s URL and seeing if it starts with “https.” The “s” in that case stands for “secure,” which means you can have more confidence when it comes to entering your information. 

    • Keeping records of transactions. Keeping a running tab of the products you’ve ordered will give you an easy checklist once packages start coming in. If you notice there’s something missing, you can contact the vendor early on to resolve the issue.

    While Black Friday may represent the official start to the holiday shopping season for many consumers, there are many people who are already scouring onlin...
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    Amazon rolls out its Cyber Monday deals

    The company has improved its fulfillment process to make shipping more efficient

    With many retailers taking a pandemic-led breather on Black Friday, Cyber Monday is predicted to be a big bargain stand-in. Amazon is planning ahead for the event by giving shoppers a sneak peek into everything from savings to stocking stuffers.

    Actually, Amazon’s Cyber Monday isn’t a Monday-only thing. It starts Thanksgiving weekend, lasting three days from November 28 through November 30. On top of shopping deals, customers will also have the chance to support small businesses through recently launched collections at amazon.com/supportsmall

    In a news release announcing the event, Amazon said it’s committed to making it easy for consumers to save this holiday season with free shipping on “millions of items.” That’s made possible through an improved processing system that the online retailer was forced to review in the wake of unexpected fulfillment problems brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    The company also touted some new research from ecommerce analytics firm Profitero that found Amazon to be the “lowest price online retailer.”

    What’s on sale?

    For those of you who’ve already got your pencil out, here’s a selection of Amazon’s Cyber Monday deals covering several categories. For the complete list of what’s on sale, Amazon has published a press release with more information here.  

    Fashion

    • Savings of up to 30 percent on select seasonal fashion trends, including bright puffers, plaid and printed loungewear, and cozy fleece.

    • Savings of up to 50 percent on CUBCOATs fashion hoodies.

    • Shoppers can save as much as 30 percent on Nautica men's and women's apparel.

    • Deals of up to 50 percent off on Cole Haan men’s and women’s shoes.

    • Savings of up to 40 percent on Lands' End apparel.

    Beauty, Health, and Personal Care

    • Savings of up to 35 percent on razors from Braun, Gillette, and more.

    • Shoppers can save as much as 47 percent on whitening kits and oral care from Oral-B, Crest, and more

    • Save 50 percent on 23andMe Health + Ancestry Personal Genetic Service Kit.

    Amazon Devices

    As you might expect, Amazon’s own devices are getting the royal sales treatment. This year’s Cyber Monday deals in that category include:

    • The all-new Echo is $30 off at $69.99. As an extra bonus for consumers with Amazon Music Unlimited, those who purchase a select Echo device now get six months of the premium, ad-free streaming tier for free.

    • The all-new Echo Dot Kids Edition is $21 off at $38.99.

    • The all-new Fire TV Stick Lite is $12 off at $17.99.

    • Ring Video Doorbell 3 is $60 off at $139.99.

    • Kindle Paperwhite is $45 off at $84.99. New Amazon members can also enjoy 2 months of Kindle Unlimited for $0.99.

    Toys & Games

    • Cyber Monday shoppers can save as much as 30 percent on Baby Alive, Littlest Pet Shop, and more.

    • Savings of up to 30 percent on Playskool and more preschool toys.

    • Shoppers can save as much as 30 percent on NERF.

    • Savings of up to 30 percent on Hasbro Games.

    • Save up to 30 percent on Disney toys and home products.

    Household, Kitchen, Office, Smart Home and Home Improvement

    • Save 47 percent on select Bissell floor care products.

    • Savings of up to 45 percent on select Instant Pot products.

    • Deals of up to 30 percent off on select Cuisinart products.

    • Shoppers can save as much as 30 percent on Ashley Furniture.

    • Savings of up to 35 percent on iRobot 675 Roomba Vacuum.

    Electronics

    • Save up to 30 percent on Smart Home Security Cameras.

    • Savings of up to 15 percent on weBoost Signal Boosters.

    • Shoppers can save as much as 40 percent on Jabra Headphones.

    • Savings of up to 40 percent off select video games, including Just Dance 2021.

    Major Appliances, Lawn & Garden and Tools

    • Save 15 percent on GE Profile Nugget Ice Maker.

    • Cyber Monday shoppers can save as much as 10 percent on select GE Compact Refrigerators.

    • Save 20 percent on select Worx Tools.

    • Shoppers can save as much as 30 percent on select BLACK+DECKER Products.

    • Savings of up to 20 percent on select SKIL Tools.

    Sports & Outdoors

    • Shoppers can save as much as 15 percent on select Intex Airbeds.

    • Savings of up to 25 percent on select baseball and softball equipment.

    • Save up to 20 percent on select kids bikes, adult bikes, helmets and more.

    • Select golf clubs, balls, and accessories are on sale with savings of up to 60 percent off.

    Automotive

    • Save 50 percent on Tire Installation.

    • Savings of up to 30 percent on Select NOCO Products.

    • Shoppers can save as much as 20 percent on Select Gator ETX Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau Covers.

    Amazon Gift Cards

    • Savings of 20 percent or more on select gift card brands, including Gap, H&M, Petco, and more if purchased from November 26 through November 30. 

    • Gift card users can receive a $10 bonus with their reload of $100 or more through Amazon Reload if they are replenishing their Amazon Gift Card balance for the first time from now through December 31. 

    • Gift card shoppers can receive a $15 promotional credit with the purchase of $50 or more in Amazon Gift Cards from now through December 20. Promotional credits expire on February 6, 2021, and other restrictions may apply.

    Whole Foods Market and Grocery Items

    For grocery shoppers, Amazon’s Cyber deals for its Whole Foods Market last a bit longer -- from November 27 to December 1. Shoppers can find deals on customer favorites, including organic honeycrisp apples ($2.99/lb), Animal Welfare Certified air-chilled organic chicken wings ($2.99/lb), and all probiotic supplements (25 percent off). 

    Prime members can also enjoy an additional 10 percent in savings, both in-store and online, and everyone can save up to 30 percent on holiday beverages.

    Special limited-time deals

    It may not be something on every shopper’s deals knowledge base, but Amazon has another deal site -- Woot! -- that promises to deliver dozens of additional, limited-time discounts for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The site is offering free shipping for Prime members and daily doorbuster deals. 

    At Amazon Warehouse, shoppers can save an extra 20 percent on select quality pre-owned and open box items for the kitchen, home, office. This includes major appliances, furniture home décor, and more.

    With many retailers taking a pandemic-led breather on Black Friday, Cyber Monday is predicted to be a big bargain stand-in. Amazon is planning ahead for th...
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    BJ’s Wholesale Club offers members a deal for a free turkey ahead of Thanksgiving

    Company officials say the retailer is gearing up for Black Friday

    With November nearly halfway gone, consumers across the U.S. are gearing up to face Thanksgiving during a pandemic. While holiday gatherings will doubtless look different this year, retailers are still offering special deals to help people save money on holiday essentials. 

    One such retailer, BJ’s Wholesale Club, has announced that it will be offering a coupon to members that they can use to get a free frozen or fresh Butterball turkey. The in-store coupons are being offered while supplies last from November 14 through November 25. 

    The company said BJ’s members can take advantage of the free turkey deal by buying three qualifying items from a list of over 80 products that can be found at BJs.com/FreeTurkey. The offer is supposedly one of many that will be offered in the coming weeks.

    “We’re helping our members give thanks this holiday season by offering incredible savings on everything from fresh food and groceries to entertaining items and household essentials," said Michael Leary, BJ’s senior vice president of GMM, perishables, grocery, and beverages. "We’re committed to providing our members outstanding value in an easy one-stop holiday shop. That’s why we’re excited to announce our free turkey promotion to help members stress less and save even more this Thanksgiving,” 

    Also included in a company press release was BJ’s upcoming holiday schedule. The retailer said it will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but it will be opening its doors for deals on Black Friday starting at 7 a.m. Consumers who want an even bigger jump on deals can shop for items on BJs.com starting at midnight on Thanksgiving. 

    With November nearly halfway gone, consumers across the U.S. are gearing up to face Thanksgiving during a pandemic. While holiday gatherings will doubtless...
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    Another survey shows consumers will spend less this holiday season

    The reason isn’t entirely related to the pandemic

    The 2020 holiday season will be unlike any in recent memory. No large parades, no office parties, and even extended family gatherings may be a rarity.

    With the disruption to traditional routines caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic uncertainty it has produced, a survey by the personal finance site Debt.com found 60 percent of U.S. consumers plan to spend less on the holidays this year. 

    But the factors listed above many have little to do with it, the study authors say. Spending will be down because the pressure’s off.

    Thirty-seven percent of those who are spending less say they feel less pressure to buy gifts because holiday celebrations are going to be virtual this year. Another 23 percent said they don’t expect friends and family to spend as much on them because of the pandemic. Debt.com Chairman Howard Dvorkin calls it “Grinch logic.”

    "I've spent nearly three decades counseling Americans on how to save more and spend less, but that's nearly impossible to do during the holidays," Dvorkin said. "No matter how blunt they are about their debts, they'll blow their holiday budget.”

    ‘No one wants to be the Grinch’

    Dvorkin says Americans fear only one thing more than landing deep in debt and that’s the fear their family and friends will think they’re cheap.

    “Everyone wants to be Santa Claus, and no one wants to be the Grinch," he said.

    The findings may come as a rude awakening for retailers, who have already begun their holiday sales push. The National Retail Federal estimates the average consumer spent $1,000 on the holidays last year but Debt.com found that 73 percent of consumers say they’ll spend less than $500. Only 2 percent say they’ll spend more than $1,500.

    Without a doubt, a sizable portion of the reduced holiday spending will be related to cutbacks in travel. Fewer people will travel for the holidays, either to see family or to enjoy a vacation.

    Holiday travel booking are down

    Right after Labor Day, when holiday travel tends to be booked, CNBC reported advance reservations for Thanksgiving were off by 16 percent, while Christmas bookings were down 35 percent and New Years’ Eve reservations were 33 percent lower.

    Only 30 percent of consumers said they will spend less this year because they’ve lost income. To make those dollars go farther, personal finance experts recommend making a holiday budget and sticking to it. 

    Other ways to avoid debt is to aggressively price-check before you guy and don’t forget to use your credit card rewards.

    The 2020 holiday season will be unlike any in recent memory. No large parades, no office parties, and even extended family gatherings may be a rarity.W...
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