How holiday spending habits have changed. More folks will be using cash and debit cards during the upcoming shopping season - and fewer will be taking out their credit cards. The numbers aren't that much different from last year, though the move away from credit is noteworthy - 28.3 percent this year versus 31.5 percent last year. All this comes from the National Retail Federation, which commissioned a survey on expected shopping patterns. US News offers a little context to the debt-savings quandary:
In 1960, the typical U.S. household had debt that equaled about 55 percent of after-tax disposable income. For years, that rose gradually as credit card borrowing, low-down-payment mortgages and other types of easy credit became common. Then, household debt exploded after 2000, peaking at 130 percent of income in early 2008. It's fallen slightly since then, but the typical family still owes more to lenders that it earns in a given year.
Meanwhile, the big retailers are jockeying for position as the countdown begins to Black Friday. Actually, the countdown probably began last July. Walmart seems to be leading the pre-Black Friday charge, with some of its items going on sale tomorrow. Some news stories are trumpeting the sales (as if Walmart hasn't gotten enough attention).