First Person: Consumer Sentiment Slides, but I’m No Scrooge

Yahoo Contributor Network

According to the latest reports, U.S. Consumer sentiment slid on the government shutdown. A lot of financial analysts are worried it's going to be a bleak holiday this year if consumers keep their credit cards on ice instead of cozying up to the retail counters. A recent article by Reuters showed consumer confidence dropped to its lowest level since a year ago. Even though I am making significantly less money this year compared to last, I'm going to kick my spending up a notch.

Helping the local economy

One of the reasons I plan to spend more money this holiday season is because I want to support the local economy. I know a lot of small business owners who struggled to keep their doors open during the Great Recession. Some people like to shame consumers, saying they need to learn to be frugal. The way I look at it, I'm boosting the economy and the job market by spending some of the money I earn.

Overcoming my frugal fatigue

During the recession, we put off a lot of purchases. Now it's time to replace the worn-out things. Our goal is to use cash instead of credit cards so we don't end up spending more than we have. My husband and I created a Christmas fund through our bank account. We saved just a few dollars here and there to build up the savings throughout the year. It will be nice to splurge after years of scrimping.

Investing in our careers

In addition to buying some of the luxury items that we went without for 5 years, we are spending more money on our careers. From tools and computer upgrades to work wardrobes, everyone in my family has the green light to purchase things they need for work. Sometimes it takes money to make money.

Enjoying lower gasoline costs

According to a recent article by CBS, gas prices are continuing to slide. A CNBC piece pointed out gas futures are trading at a 52-week low. Experts suggest gasoline prices could go as low as $2.40 a gallon. When gasoline prices were getting close to $4 a gallon, my family couldn't afford to go on road trips. Lower gas prices means we can travel more. When we travel, we tend to spend more.

As unemployment continues to go down, I think more people will feel better about the economy. Although it's hard to ignore all the political drama, it only makes things worse to stop participating in the economy by earning and spending. With three of the four people in my household working, I feel as though we are 75 percent of the way to having complete consumer confidence. While job security may be a thing of the past, it's good to have family financial support. I plan to have a Merry Christmas even if lawmakers in D.C. try to hold Santa hostage on the "debt ceiling."

More from this contributor:

Tricks to Pay Down our Mortgage

I'm Happy in our Smaller Home

Fighting Fair About Money

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