a reply to: JAGStorm
It's funny you mention Target and Costco, we were just at Target this week for Angel Tree shopping (hubs' work does it) and Costco for monthly
staples. Target was almost "summer traffic" normal -- not dead, but not bustling, either. And pricing IS good there this year, it's normally a bit
higher than elsewhere. The Costco I go to is in a very busy end of town with hellacious foot traffic any other day of the year, though, so it's no
different than normal there. Seriously, every Friday is practically Black Friday-busy in my Costco, so it's hard to judge if foot traffic is up or
down or what.
Meijer hasn't been as jam-packed as we expected, and we had to pop in to 4 different ones around the area yesterday while out & about (the old "Oh s#!
I forgot XYZ!" crap) Don't get me wrong, it's still busy AF in there, but it's not wall-to-wall people like in previous years. There's elbow room in
the isles, lol.
Overall, road traffic seems no different, either. Maybe a little
busier than normal around rush hours, but not by much. Even neighborhood
deliveries don't seem any more frequent than normal, Amazon, UPS and FedEx are coming through at their normal times, and don't seem to be hauling ass
through, the pace is still leisurely.
Personally, just through observing & talking to people we know, I think the belt got seriously tightened this year for holiday spending than people
are willing to admit and for varoious reasons overall that normally didn't crop up in the past. I know too many people who are slashing their budgets
compared to previous years, and it's not because they're poor, or bad budgeters, or got their hours cut, etc. Many are seeing spikes in CoL (property
taxes, utilities, food) That doesn't seem like much at first glance, but a little here and a little there adds up all year.
Even our Christmas shopping budget got slashed. I usually budget $300 to $400, MAYBE $500 if you want to include last minute brain fart gift ideas in
local stores a few days before Christmas. That gets spread out between October and December, I'm not a rush shopper, I hate that.
This year, we re-budgeted $250 for everyone. The beginning budget was higher, but we reduced it. We're betting on higher gas heating bills in January
and February, so we set aside more for those ahead of time and pulled it from the initial Christmas budget. The Christmas shopping is effectively
finished after a few days' worth of looking, too. Hubs and the older kid went and did theirs yesterday, and he's taking the younger one tomorrow.
After that, it's basically done, nobody has any other ideas for anyone at the moment.
I ALSO think holiday gifts are moving away from gifting things
, and heading steadily toward gifting, what are they calling it now ...
"experiences". I know a few people gifting museum memberships to family, someone else is pooling with other family members to pay for gas and lodging
gift cards the recipients can use to take their kids on a road trip next year, instead of just putting it on the bucket list, but never having the
funds for it (now that's actually thoughtful as hell) My neighbors gifted their grandkids surfing and sandboarding lessons last year. Their grandkids
are the same ages as my kids, so I found that to be a really cool gift idea for tweens.