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Consumers prepare to stretch waistlines and budgets this Thanksgiving holiday

The average shopper spent $400 on Black Friday weekend last year, and $52.4 billion was spent nationwide. Financial experts give tips for keeping budgets in check.
by Jennifer Palmer Published: November 22, 2012
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This year, 19 percent of consumers plan to spend more than last year and 5 percent say they will spend substantially more, according to a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers. It's the highest percentage of consumers planning to increase spending since the council began asking the question in 2004. Still, 40 percent plan to spend about the same and 26 percent say they will spend less or substantially less.

Certified financial planner Troy Jones, of Access Financial Resources, said spending is one of the few aspects of our financial lives we have complete control over.

“Most people don't have adequate savings in retirement, or insurance. And yet, they are the first in line at Black Friday,” he said.

There is no mathematical formula for consumers to determine how much is appropriate to spend on Black Friday, or for holiday shopping in general. Each person has to look carefully at their finances and decide for themselves, he said.

And they shouldn't forget to factor in their investment of time, which is worth something.

“Five years from now, nobody's going to remember what they bought in line on Black Friday. But if they have money in their savings account ... that could make a real difference,” Jones said.

by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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