Karen Long and her granddaughter Ayana are perusing the mall in search of Christmas presents. “I think she is going to cost me a little bit, but I’m still going to try and stay within a budget for sure.”
Donna Mobley saved all year to buy gifts for her family. “I won’t spend as much because right now I budget for things that they need verses what they want.”
The Great Recession has changed people’s shopping habits. The trend has been to spend less, but this year retailers say people are more optimistic about the economy.
“Americans are feeling more confident about their financial situations,” said Rick McAllister with the Florida Retail Federation.
The Florida Retail Federation is predicting a 5.2% increase in holiday shopping. They say the average shopper will spend $750 on gifts, up 10 bucks from a year ago.
The prediction comes as gridlock in Washington brings the country closer to the fiscal cliff. If Congress and the President can’t reach a deal by the end of the year, Florida families could see their taxes increase by $3500.
But shoppers say it’s too early to be worried.
“Not before Christmas, we’ll see what happens after Christmas,” said Long.
And retailers have a message for Washington.
“What a great Christmas present for all the citizen of American, if they could get together and solve this problem now,” said McAllister.
While consumer confidence seems un-phased by the looming crisis, reaching a deal sooner than later can solidify the mood.
Democrats are pushing for eliminating tax breaks for families making over $250,000 a year. Republicans want cuts to entitlements.
President Barack Obama will meet with House Speaker John Boehner Friday to begin the negotiations.