ATLANTA, Nov. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- It's easy to get carried away by the spirit of the season and end up with stressful debt. According to a 2016 holiday shopping report by the Rubicon Project, consumers plan to spend 12 percent more on their holiday shopping than they did in 2015. This means Americans will spend an average of $1,175 this holiday season. Without a holiday spending game plan, it could also mean struggling to pay rent or mortgage and credit card debt.
"Our customers spent an average of $1,395 last year on their holiday shopping," says Elizabeth Halkos, chief revenue officer of Purchasing Power®, an employee purchase program offered as a voluntary benefit. "If they had used credit cards for their purchases and didn't pay off the full amount within one month, they would have fallen into the trap of spending significantly more than the cost of the gift due to double-digit interest."
The most popular product categories for spending last year, according to Purchasing Power, were electronics, computers and televisions, with MacBooks and Smart TVs topping most lists. This holiday season, the company anticipates cellphones, gaming consoles and virtual reality gear will be especially strong sellers, as well as laptops and computers.
"Paying for goods over time is often a good option for consumers who don't have cash up front," Halkos points out. "And with a continued shift towards online and mobile shopping, consumers need an alternative to credit card debt."
An employee purchase program can save money over traditional financing options like credit cards or in-store financing, particularly for those prone to making minimum monthly payments or incurring late fees. A 12-month payroll deduction schedule helps ensure no missed payments, eliminating the risk of late fees or loss of merchandise. There also is more time to pay off the balance, making holiday spending less stressful. And, under Purchasing Power's program, consumers pay the same price whether they pay in cash in full or take advantage of the option to pay through payroll deduction.
"Raising three teenage sons on just one salary means I have to be extremely careful about my Christmas spending," confides Camillia Cooper, a project analyst for a healthcare company in Atlanta. "The purchasing program offered by my company provided me a way to give what my boys needed most—a laptop, a tablet and a smartphone—without my having to pay for these items all at once or racking up big interest fees over the course of several months. The payroll deduction system proved the more responsible way for me to access the electronics my family needed to be more successful both at school and at home with their personal interests."
Ranked #103 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Mobile 500, Purchasing Power boasts an online product catalog of more than 45,000 items in 19 major product categories, including the hottest consumer electronics and retail products in the market, online education, auto services and vacation packages.
Before shopping begins, Purchasing Power also recommends the following tips for setting a budget for the holiday season.
- Know your limit. Make a list and check it twice. Figure out how much you can spend on gifts, decorations or other items. Divide the total amount into a per-gift limit. If it doesn't add up, cut back the gift list or consider making a baked item or other homemade gift, or giving a gift certificate for a service you might provide, such as babysitting, car washing or house cleaning. Keep track of expenses to stay on point with the budget.
- Shop wisely. Watch for special sale days and coupons. Many online retail sites offer free shipping, special discounts and other promotions during the holiday season. Looking ahead to next year, think about buying gifts that can be used and enjoyed throughout the year. After the holidays, look for deep sales on holiday wrapping paper and greeting cards to save for next year's celebrations.
- Enjoy the season. The holiday season is stressful enough, so plan ahead and stick to the budget. There are many ways to participate in the holidays without spending money. Reduce stress by maintaining a daily routine as much as possible. Look for free holiday concerts presented within local communities. Shopping malls typically offer a schedule of no-cost holiday entertainment. Consider volunteering at a food pantry or senior citizen facility to share year-end festivities with those less fortunate. Donate no-longer used toys and decorations to a local shelter. Keep in mind that sticking to a budget means a better financial start for the new year.
About Purchasing Power, LLC
Purchasing Power, LLC, is one of the fastest-growing voluntary benefit companies in the industry, offering a leading employee purchase program for consumer products and services as well as providing financial tools and resources to improve employee financial wellness. Purchasing Power is available to millions of people through large companies including Fortune 500s, associations and government agencies. Headquartered in Atlanta, Purchasing Power is 'Powering People to a Better Life™' through its employee purchase program, financial literacy efforts and corporate social responsibility initiatives. Purchasing Power is a Rockbridge Growth Equity, LLC Company. For more information, visit www.PurchasingPower.com.
Juliann Kaiser, 770.643.0615
Joe Swaney, 404.609.5630
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SOURCE Purchasing Power