by Daisy Luther
With October begins a consumer frenzy that lasts all the way through the end of the year. For most families, the final quarter of the year isn’t just about good simple fun. It’s all about trying to pay for all the things that society and marketers have led people – especially children – to expect. On average, an American family spends a mindblowing $4721.50 during the last three months of the year.
Retailers report that they earn as much as 30-40% of their entire year’s sales in the final quarter. People are driven to spend from Halloween on through Christmas.
Here are some excruciating stats for the frugal among us. Obviously, many of the folks reading this article will spend below the averages that I’m citing below. I know we sure don’t spend like this. I also know that, especially when you have children, the societal pressure to do so is very strong.
Last year, Americans spent – are you sitting down? – almost TEN BILLION DOLLARS on Halloween. And it isn’t even a “gift-giving” holiday like Christmas.
2.7 billion of those dollars were spent on the sweet stuff. The average spending for candy across the country was $16.45 per person. This included candy to eat themselves and candy to hand out. In Oregon, however, they hand out full-sized candy bars and the average in that state is $40.29 per person.
Costumes clocked in at 3.4 billion dollars. Not only are we dressing up the kids, but we’re also dressing up grown-ups and pets. Men spent an average of $96 on costumes and women spent $77. Children’s Halloween costumes clock in at an average of $50 when you include accessories. I’m not including pets in my final total here, but Americans spent $350 million dressing up their dogs and cats last year.
Home décor was equal to candy with 2.7 billion dollars spent. The average expenditure for spooky home décor was $37.70 according to one survey. (Which means a family of four is spending over $150 a year on Halloween decorations!)
For an average family of four, then, the grand total for Halloween is $488.80.
On a day we’re supposed to hang out and be super-thankful for everything we have, we certainly know how to dish out the dough.
Last year, people in America over the age of 18 spent on average a whopping $165.14 per person. PER. PERSON.
This cost was split up between travel to get to their holiday destination, hotels, and food. The price of the Thanksgiving feast often falls on the member of the family who is hosting it, with others who are traveling bringing some side dishes and desserts.
So let’s do the math – for an extended family that includes 6 adults, we’re talking about $990.84.
Oh my gosh, this is the worst. The very, very worst.
In 2016, people spent about $100 on decorations and an average of $50 on top of that if they purchase a real Christmas tree. This cost doesn’t include gift wrap, gift bags, and bows, which often end up being another $50. Add in cards and postage, and you’ve spent another $40.
Oh – and if you want to grab one of those inflatable outdoor decorations, expect to spend at least another $150. Need more lights for the outdoors? Plan on at least $40
So, that’s $240 for indoor decorations, gift-wrapping, and cards, and another $190 in outdoor decorations for a painful total of $430.
Christmas dinner, snacks, and that traditional holiday morning breakfast break down to $117. 60 per person. So, this time, we’ve got to include children in our imaginary extended family – I’m calculating for 8 people. And getting an OMGosh total of $940.80.
Then there were the gifts. In 2016, the average American spent $935.58 on holiday gifts. Not the average family. This is the average adult. So in a family with two adults buying, that’s $1871.16.
The grand total? $3241.96 for the Christmas festivities.
So for the last quarter of the year, we’re talking about $4721.50.
And this doesn’t include regular expenses like mortage, rent, car payments, groceries, and insurance. Most don’t have that kind of money so they start the new year deeply in dept, pay it off with huge interest, and do it all over again the following year.
It truly does not have to be like this.
Not in any way, shape or form.
That is such a big heck no for me that I am at a loss for words. I couldn’t believe it when I added this stuff up. I’ve calculated it all individually before but never did I add the whole thing up for that big Kahuna number of almost $5000 on non-essentials in a period of three months.
Now, if you’re reading this site, I’m pretty sure you aren’t dropping $5K on these kinds of things. But are you spending more than you wish you were? Is your budget tighter this year than it has been in previous years?
Are you looking for solutions?
Read on, because I’ve got those answers you’ve been looking for and it’s positive, not woe-is-me-I’m-on-a-restricted-budget-and-Christmas-is-ruined stuff.
The Cheapskate’s Guide to the Holiday Season
I’ve put together some information products that I’m positive can save you more money than you spend on them. If you use these products, you’ll find new ways to save money and have a great time doing it. The goal here is that nobody feels deprived.
The Cheapskate’s Guide to the Holiday Season totals 170 pages and is made up of 4 PDF products:
- The Cheapskate’s Guide to the Galaxy October 2018 (41 pages)
- The Preppernomics Report November 2017 (25 pages)
- The Preppernomics Report December 2017 (29 pages)
- Have Yourself a Thrifty Little Christmas and a Debt-Free New Year (75 pages)
(I changed the name of my monthly subscription product after the first two months, thus the difference you see above.)
The price of all four of the extra-awesome products? $15.49.
You can order here: sowl.co/E1FYJ
The Cheapskate’s Guide subscriptions are no longer available. This special offer is the ONLY way you can get your paws on them. For this bundle, I am charging the same price that subscribers were charged (and throwing in the Thrifty Christmas book for free) but later, I’ll be bumping up the cost for back issues.
Why should you take my advice?
If you don’t know my story, I’ll give you the quick and dirty version. I’ve been a single mother for 16 years, and super-duper single after my children’s father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly 10 years ago. I was the only game in town as far as supporting my two girls was concerned.
I didn’t make a whole lot of money in the earlier days. And by not a lot, I mean that if we spilled a gallon of milk earlier in the week, I would have literally cried over that spilled milk because I would not have been able to afford another gallon until my next paycheck. Things were that tight.
But I still somehow managed to dig us out of the debt I was left with after my divorce. We had some major rough spots, like when I got laid off and when my father died and when the kids’ dad passed away. But we made it, and for the girls, most of the time, they felt happy and secure.
I’ve managed to put both of those children, now young adults, through college without a penny of debt. At the time my oldest was in college, I made just under $24,000 per year. But still, we did not do college loans. We made it work. And we did so through frugal methods that made all three of us more creative people who thrive in simplicity.
Our holidays were wildly memorable and didn’t cost a fortune. In writing these guides, I’ve looked back at the things we did – and didn’t do – while still having a great time. We are so close, really the best of friends, and somehow, I believe that our lifestyle of experiences > material things is responsible for it.
So…this is your chance to get a peek inside our family treasure trove of thrifty ideas. I hope they inspire your own thrifty solutions.
Buy The Cheapskate’s Guide to the Holiday Season
If you’d like to buy this guide, you can go here: sowl.co/E1FYJ
Your purchase helps to support this website.
Be on the lookout for an email from SendOwl within 5 minutes of your purchase. If you don’t get that, hit me up at daisyluther2 at Gmail and we’ll look after you.