How to avoid inflation’s ‘Grinch pinch’ this year

Inflation, rising interest rates and recession risks are less welcome during the holidays than crazy uncles, uninvited guests and that person who bought Thanksgiving pie at the supermarket.

But high prices, bigger price tags, heavier debt-carrying costs and economic uncertainty are here this year, and they will make most of us as uncomfortable as that uncle belching and unbuckling his pants when the Thanksgiving meal is done.

The question for consumers is how they will handle these unwanted guests, and how they keep financial concerns from ruining the holidays.

While there are dozens of studies showing how consumers have been feeling about inflation, what the research really seems to show is a disconnect between the complaints people are voicing and the actions they’ll be taking.

Roughly one in five Americans expects to feel pressured to spend more money than they are comfortable with buying gifts this year, according to a study, with younger generations feeling pushed more than their elders. About 30 percent of all adults say they will need either a “buy now, pay later” plan or will take on credit-card debt that they won’t pay off for multiple cycles to complete their holiday shopping.

A WalletHub survey showed that 50 percent of Americans say that Santa won’t be as generous this year, due to inflation.

But other research from both of those firms and others suggests that having those worries is not the same as acting on them.

While half of the people said Santa will be less generous, just over one-quarter of respondents said they expect to spend less than last year on holiday shopping. Several other polls from shopping sites showed that most consumers believe that, in the end, they will do no more than hold the line on spending from 2021 levels.

The worry

Read the rest
Read more

Why We Hate Rising Prices More Than We Fear Losing Our Jobs

If you listen to Americans right now, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that when it comes to the economy, Joe Biden is the worst American president since Herbert Hoover. Every new poll seems worse than the last, and according to the polling-analysis site FiveThirtyEight, Biden has the lowest approval rating at this point in his presidency of any postwar president. Fewer than one in seven Americans think the country is on the right track, and most of those who think it’s on the wrong track seem to hold Biden responsible.

We all know the main reason for this, of course: inflation. Americans hate high prices, and high gas prices in particular, so with inflation at 9 percent and gas prices hovering around $4.50 a gallon even after a recent drop, it was inevitable that Biden’s popularity would take a big hit. But a recent poll from CNBC, its latest All-America Economic Survey, suggests that the president’s problems run deeper than that. The survey showed, naturally, that Americans were upset about inflation and Biden’s failure or inability to do anything about it. But it also included this perplexing result: People for whom jobs were the biggest concern said they favored Republican control of Congress by a 54–31 margin. And that was a bigger margin for the GOP than it enjoyed among those for whom the cost of living was the biggest concern.

That poll squares with a startling survey the Global Strategy Group released back in February, which found that 37 percent of respondents thought the U.S. economy had lost jobs in 2021, a year when a historic 6.6 million jobs were created; only 28 percent thought it had gained jobs. (The remainder either didn’t know or thought that the number of jobs had not changed.)

You can see

Read the rest
Read more