We posted this last week too, but ask as we head into the holiday season, what greater gift could you and your loved ones provide for a child than an Edvest college savings plan? Now, it is easier than ever and we must say a wonderful way to spread holiday cheer! With our e-Gifting option, you can invite family and friends to make a contribution through our secure website in just a few clicks. There’s even a selection of gift certificates that can be printed so they can share the good news. With e-Gifting there are no checks to be mailed or deposited.
For more on how to invite friends and family to e-Gift, CLICK HERE
The Wisconsin Office of the State Treasurer proudly teams up with WWBIC (Wisconsin’s Women Business Initiative Corporation) for “Wisconsin Saves.” Each week, we will share with you a savings tip courtesy of WWBIC.
This one is quite simple, review last year’s holiday statements to get an idea of how much you spent the previous year. Use that as your guide on how much to increase or decrease your holiday shopping budget!
This week, we travel to Jackson County. Here’s a look at the Top 5 people and businesses there with unclaimed assets. Do you see anyone on this list you know? If so, have check out www.wismissingmoney.com and search their name to make a claim. They can also call 855-375-CASH (2274)
Most parents wonder how much is too much to spend on Christmas gifts for their children. Our friends at mint.com share some ideas in their latest blog.
Family holiday gatherings that include aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents can easily result in massive piles of gifts, even for children who are too young to really understand the concept of Christmas gift giving.
This year, two of the hottest gifts include two new game consoles: the PlayStation 4 ($400) and the Xbox One ($500).
Of course, many families will buy one of these game consoles for “the kids” rather than for each child, but that’s still a big chunk of money for a lot of families.
The Rebound Since the 2008 Recession
After the global recession that started in 2008, the combination of high unemployment and a devastated housing market caused people to spend a lot less at Christmas.
Gallup surveys said that Americans spent 29% less on 2008 Christmas gifts than in 2007.
While spending in the US has not yet topped 2007 spending levels, it has gone up from its low of $681.83 in 2009.
In 2012, the average family spent around $750 on holiday gifts, and spending is expected to be up again in 2013, as unemployment has eased and the housing and automobile markets have started recovering.
Holiday Spending in 2012
In 2012, gift cards were at the top of a lot of wish lists.
People like getting them because of their flexibility, and people like giving them because it’s a lot easier to buy a gift card than to fight other shoppers for popular items and Black Friday specials.
In 2012, people spent just over $400 on gifts for family, around $75 on gifts for friends, and closer to $25 on gifts for co-workers.
Close to 60% of consumers bought gifts for themselves in 2012, and the figure is expected to remain the same in 2013.
The most requested items for Christmas last year were gift cards, clothing, media (books, CDs, DVDs, video games), electronics, jewelry, home décor, and sporting goods.
Discover Card Polls Holiday Spending
Released at the end of October, Discover Card’s holiday spending survey found that the average family will be spending 20% more this Christmas than last, with the average family spending just over $1000.
This includes gifts and other things, like holiday food, clothing, and dining out.
Marketing professional Dave Brennan of the University of St. Thomas says regional holiday budgets may be up by less than 20% over 2012, because in some regions, the rebound from the recession came early, causing some regions to experience a bigger bump in holiday spending in 2012.
Brennan told CBS Minnesota, “We have lower unemployment, we have good paying jobs, and things are coming back a lot faster here than they have in other places.”
The NRF survey says the average shopper will spend $737.95 on gifts, décor, greeting cards, and other holiday items. This is 2% less than in 2012.
This year, the NRF asked shoppers if the government shutdown and general Washington gridlock would affect their holiday spending, and 29% of respondents said that it was “somewhat or very likely to affect” holiday spending.
Fifty-one percent of consumers said the general state of the economy would affect holiday spending, with 79% expecting to spend less overall.
Overall holiday spending this year is expected to make $602.1 billion for retailers.
The Prowl’s Survey of Shopping Moms
Shopping experience website The Prowl conducted a survey of 511 mothers on 2013 holiday spending and made some interesting discoveries about how much moms are spending, and how they’re spending it.
Their survey found that mothers expect to spend $224 on average for gifts for each child, and almost exactly the same amount ($221) on gifts for their husband or partner.
Compared to last year, moms planned to spend roughly the same, with 55% saying they would spend “the same” as last year, 23% saying they would spend more, and 22% saying they would spend less than in 2012.
As for how they plan to shop, 49% of mothers surveyed said they would make purchases on mobile devices this year, either on a phone, tablet, or both.
Clearly, braving the Black Friday crowds is not for everyone.
If you’re conflicted about how much you spend during the holidays, you’re not alone. Keeping holiday spending reasonable may require steps like:
• Not buying “presents” for yourself
• Making a spending plan before shopping
• Giving group gifts
• Drawing names for gifts at large family gatherings
• Using cash rather than debit or credit cards for holiday shopping
No parent should spend more than they can afford at Christmas, whatever holiday advertisements and peers say.
Kids can be remarkably practical when it comes to holidays, and most understand that they can’t get everything they want. In fact, seeing altruistic behavior often influences even young kids.
Children in the early elementary grades can understand the basics of how budgets work, so there’s no reason your children have to grow up with a blind expectation of getting everything they want at Christmas time.
Teach this lesson early, and you can expect less holiday guilt and less of a January spending hangover in the years to come.
13 free apps you need for the holiday-shopping season
The Wisconsin Office of the State Treasurer proudly teams up with WWBIC (Wisconsin’s Womens Business Initiative Corporation) for “Wisconsin Saves.” Each week, we will share with you a savings courtesy of WWBIC. This week, 13 Free apps you need for the holiday shopping season from WWBIC and Yahoo Finance!
(Most apps in the “gift” category are Christmas-themed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them for any holiday or occasion.)
Santa’s Bag – Christmas Gift List simplifies the process of managing your gift recipients, shopping, and budget lists. Quickly create gift profiles by selecting recipients from your phone’s contacts or Facebook profile. You can save each recipient’s favorite store and clothing size. And if simply checking an item off your to-do list isn’t specific enough, you can track the status of each gift: what you’ve bought, wrapped, and given. To ensure your gifts stay a surprise, you can password-protect the app. For iOS.
Christmas Gift List also lets you track gift ideas and budgets while password-protecting your plans. Add gift recipients, and set a budget per person or gift. If you’re giving abroad, this app supports multiple currencies. This app proves that by letting you share your lists via email, social media or Evernote. And at the end of the year you can archive your gift lists and start fresh. For Android.
Groupon is the digital-deal site you already know and love; this is the app version. For the gift-giving season, you can easily sort through deals under $50, for him or for her, or by recent promotion. In fact, Groupon’s offering 50 percent off your favorite magazine for a limited time. For iOS and Android.
ShopAdvisor tracks the price trend of products so you don’t have to. You can add that Nintendo 3DS game console your niece wants to your WatchList, and get an alert when the price drops down to what you’re willing to pay. In the interim, you can compare prices across retailers, and see what the average consumer ratings are. For iOS and Android.
Coupon App by Shopular and Black Friday Coupons Shopular let you leave the paper circulars at home and bookmark the deals from your favorite retailers right on your phone. Not sure if that cologne set is still on sale at Macy’s (which, by the way has one of the best loyalty-card programs)? No problem! With the wonders of geo-locating, this app pushes relevant deals to your smart phone as soon as you walk into the store. With more than 140 retailers participating, you’re sure to snag a deal or two. It even has a special section just for Black Friday circulars. For iOS and Android, respectively.
Smoopa Shopping is a price-checker app that puts you in control—and actually makes the process fun. It leverages the power of real-time aggregation by having the app users submit prices of items they’ve just purchased in store. You can also follow other user feeds and build collections of your favorite items. Just virtually scan a barcode or search for an item, pin it to a collection, and post the price you paid. But if building collections isn’t your thing, you can still benefit: If a store has the best deal on a product, a green button appears. If it doesn’t, Smoopa will give you a yellow button and show you where to score a better deal. For iOS and Android.
RedLaser is a mash-up of Smoopa and Shopular. Created by eBay, this app lets you browse online circulars and coupons, compare deals across retailers, search by the nearest stores with the best prices,and even store loyalty cards all in one app. You can also create and share shopping, gift and wish lists with your friends and family. For iOS and Android.
App safety tips
To protect your phone against apps that may not be as private or safe as you’d wish, check our story on mobile security apps.
Regularly check for updates for your apps—and your mobile OS.
Find my car! Free and MyCar Locator Free are two of our favorite parking apps for college students, but the same benefits apply. These apps quickly record when and where you’ve parked, and store it in your smart phone for later. So when you leave the mall in a fog after that annual last-minute shopping marathon, you can avoid wandering aimlessly through the vast parking lot, because these apps give you walking directions to find your vehicle again (aided by Google Maps). Find my car! Free also has a timer to remind you when your metered parking is going to expire. For iOS and Android, respectively.
Discount Calculator (by ChuChu Train Productions) and Discount Calculator (by InfoLife, LLC.) are the apps you’ll be grateful for during your in-store shopping spree. Instead of guesstimating how much that Ninja Master Prepblenderwill cost you—plus tax, but after taking that extra 10 percent off at check-out—these calculators will do the math for you. Create a shopping list and input all of the prices to learn the exact dollar amount you’ll be spending. For iOS and Android, respectively.
Mobile Banking apps come in handy when you need to instantly access your accounts. Available from most major banks (including Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, and Wells Fargo), they allow you to transfer funds, deposit checks and pay bills with the tap of a finger. So you can stress less with making it to the bank before closing when you’re stuck in the that traffic jam during the holidays retailers call a return line. For iOS and Android.
This week, we travel to Jefferson County and offer a nod to law enforcement there who will likely be busy this Halloween week with all the “ghoulish” things ghost and goblins do this time of year! Here’s a look at the Top 5 people and businesses there with unclaimed assets. Do you see anyone on this list you know? If so, have check out www.wismissingmoney.com and search their name to make a claim. They can also call 855-375-CASH (2274)
Ok, so you aren’t the shop-til-you-drop, elbow-throwing, Black Friday type. Maybe you’d rather re-watch 90′s TV on NetFlix while you browse for deals. Don’t fret, the web is full of people trying sell you stuff. Our friends at www.wired.com shared their collection of holiday gear deals!