Class Discussion: How does your holiday spending compare to the average?

Teaching tip:  This is one of those class discussions where there isn’t a right or wrong answer, just opinions.  One way to start it out is to have everyone answer a number of questions dealing with what they think the national average is, then share then and discuss how to budget for it.  There are some excellent charts and a table that breaks down spending by age and income available from the National Retail Federation at their
“Holiday website”  – they are nice to show in class and discuss.  From there, if you would like, there is an excellent “Christmas Budget” worksheet abailable from simplemom.net that you can have them either fill out themselves or work with their family to fill out and bring it in as an assignment.  Regardless, it is a nice worksheet to provide your students.  This can also be provided to your students as a written assignment.

With “Black Friday” behind us, we are now in the heart of Holiday Season shopping.  With all the sales and advertisements in front of us it’s hard to control shoppng during the holidays.  One way to help control holiday spending is to know what others are spending – that way, if you’re above average, perhaps you need to take another look at your spending habits.

What is the average amount spent to celebrate the winter holidays?  According to the National Retail Federation “Holiday Headquarters” it is $704 for 2011, that represents an increase of 2.8% over the previous year, and retail sales in November and December 2011 are expected to be $465 billion!

At an average of $403.26, more than half of the consumer’s entire holiday budget was spent on gifts for family members. This doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise, as most big-ticket items are purchased for family members such as children, spouses and loved ones.

So, how do you control this?  As we learned in Principle 2: Nothing Happens Without a Plan, and as we saw in Chapter 2, budgeting is the key.  For that reason simplemom.com has an excellent “Christmas Budget” that will help you understand how much you are spending and then control it.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you think is a reasonable amount to spend to celebrate the winter holidays?
  2. Come up with two methods to save money for the winter holidays and be prepared to discuss them in class.
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