Nine Ways to Rein in Holiday Spending

We are officially in the season of spending. Between gift giving, holiday travel, and hosting family meals, the expenses at this time of the year add up. 

We tend to be extra busy throughout the holidays, so it’s easy to not take the time to make sure we are saving money where we can. Here are some ways you can take control of your spending instead of your spending taking control of you and your money.

  • Do a complete financial forecast. Set a budget for expenses such as: gifts, travel, parties, holiday wardrobe, shipping packages and even postage stamps for cards. Once you have that list, price everything out and total it up. If you are over the amount you can afford, see where you can cut back. Usually the amount you spend on gifts is a good place to start. Having this knowledge and plan set in place before the spending season gets underway is the first step to saving money.
  • Save your receipts for price adjustments. If you make a purchase and that item goes down in price within a certain period (usually 10-14 days), larger stores will usually refund the difference between what you paid and the new sale price, if you ask. I have saved thousands of dollars doing this over my lifetime. Most stores just need you to bring in the receipt to get your refund. This is an especially good tip for this time of the year when prices keep going down as we get closer to Christmas.
  • Use coupons to save online. You should always look for a coupon code before you make any online purchase. There are thousands of codes you can find on everything from clothes to travel. It takes a minute to check and the savings can be well worth it.
  • If you are buying an item that qualifies for a rebate, make sure you get an extra copy of the receipt and save any necessary papers. This will be helpful whether the item is for you or for someone else.
  • If you are buying anything electronic, find out if the store is selling any “open boxed” items. These are items that were either floor samples or a return, so they are usually drastically marked down in price. Just make sure they offer a warranty and a return policy if there is a problem.
  • Book your holiday travel now. Waiting until the last minute for holiday travel can mean two things: higher prices and less of a selection. Traveling on the actual holiday can reduce your airfare. This works particularly well if you are traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast. An 8 a.m. flight will get you there in time for lunch.
  • For wardrobes, look to resale shops. You can find the best deals on party dresses and outfits for the entire family. I am a big fan of resale and consignment shops. The secret to saving: shop now before the best deals are gone!
  • If you are going to be shipping packages, the earlier you send the more you will save. If you wait until days before you need the packages to arrive, you will end up paying rush delivery fees.
  • Remember the holidays are about family, friends and time together. Don’t get caught up in the financial stresses that often take away from enjoying the holiday season.

Jeanette Pavini is an Emmy Award winning journalist specializing in consumer news and protection. She is the author of “The Joy of $aving: Money Lessons I Learned From My Italian-American Father & 20 Years as a Consumer Reporter.” Jeanette is a regular contributor to TheStreet. Her work includes reporting for CBS, MarketWatch, WSJ Sunday, and USA Today. Jeanette has contributed to “The Today Show” and a variety of other media outlets. You can follow her money saving tips and ways to give back on Facebook: Jeanette Pavini: The Joy of $aving Community. Find links to her social media and her book at

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Global Business Travel Spending Expected to Make Full Return in 2024

A new study found that global business travel spending is expected to make a full return in 2024 when the sector returns to pre-pandemic totals.

According to a report from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the business travel industry declined by 53.8 percent in 2020 to $661 billion, but started to bounce back in 2021 by jumping 14 percent to $754 billion.


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While 2021 saw the restart process slowly kick into gear, the GBTA is predicting a year-over-year surge of 38 percent and an increase in business travel spending to around $1 trillion. In 2023, officials said global spending is expected to rise 23 percent year-over-year.

Finally in 2024, the GBTA is forecasting global business travel making a full recovery and ending the year at $1.48 trillion or just above the 2019 pre-pandemic spend of $1.4 trillion. The industry will follow the success up with a forecasted $1.5 trillion in spending for 2025.

“Of any year we’ve issued the BTI Outlook forecast, this one was the most anticipated and it’s no surprise,” GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang said. “The business travel industry recognizes there are factors, related to COVID-19 and beyond, that could impact the road ahead over the coming years.”

“However, there is optimism overall as the industry, companies and travelers worldwide lean into recovery and the much-needed return to business travel,” Neufang continued.

The GBTA also found several major hurdles left for the global business travel sector to overcome, including COVID-related threats and disruptions, supply chain strains, labor shortages, long-term cuts or elimination of business trips and travel volume and more.

Of all the regions leading the charge in business travel, North America rebounded 27 percent in 2021, while business travel markets in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC) all picked up 15-20 percent growth this year.

The study also found that 86 percent of respondents reported they need travel to accomplish their business goals, with 54 percent saying they miss traveling and hope to hit the road more often in the future.

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Forecast: Business Travel Spending to Reach 2019 Level in 2024

Overall U.S. business travel volume remains on track to grow steadily until 2024, when it should fully recover to per-pandemic 2019 levels, according to a new forecast from the U.S. Travel Association. 

The organizations project 2021 U.S. business transient and group spending to total $93 billion and $43 billion, respectively, up from $59 billion and $28 billion in 2020 but well shy of the pr-Covid levels of $157 billion and $113 billion in 2019.

Those spending figures should increase steadily in 2022 and 2023, according to the forecast. Then, 2024 U.S. business transient and group spending is projected to reach $164 billion and $113 billion, at least matching 2019 levels. 

“While we see much reason for optimism on the horizon, our forecast reveals that travel’s recovery is uneven with much work ahead to ensure all segments reach pre-pandemic levels,” said U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow in a statement. “We believe that the U.S. can implement smart, effective policies that bring back international visitors more quickly and spur business and professional travel to accelerate an economic and jobs rebound.”

Among those policies the U.S. federal government should implement, according to the association, are steps to ensure the Transportation Security Administration and the Customs and Border Protection operations are fully staffed and the enactment of a temporary tax credit for meeting venues, event organizers and small business to help spur meeting demand. The organization also has called for temporarily allowing the full tax deductibility of business entertainment expenses. 

MMBC Joins U.S. Travel

Meanwhile, the Meetings Mean Business Coalition has integrated into U.S. Travel, the association announced Monday. 

The coalition formed in the wake of the 2007-08 economic downturn, a time when extravagant corporate events were drawing criticism, to stress the economic and business importance of meetings. Joining U.S. Travel will allow MMBC to “benefit more directly from the association’s robust public affairs resources and advocacy network while providing greater value to coalition members as business travel and professional meetings and events rebuilds from steep pandemic-related losses,” according to the organization.

It wasn’t clear if the move included financial considerations, and U.S. Travel didn’t immediately return a request for clarification.

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How Much Americans Are Spending on Holiday Travel in 2021

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IBM Report Reveals Potential Rebound for Travel and Event Spending, End of Traditional Shopping Season

ARMONK, N.Y., Oct. 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — According to the findings of a new global consumer study released by IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) Institute for Business Value (IBV), respondents are feeling slightly more festive for the 2021 holiday season than they were in 2020, and are reporting higher household budget allocation for travel and local activities. However, the survey suggests COVID-19 pandemic-related concerns are hindering the return of the traditional shopping season

The global survey* of more than 13,000 adult respondents found that while rising vaccination rates have eased restrictions in many places, many people are still carefully considering the safety of socializing, shopping, and traveling, with many global respondents continuing to make choices from a place of caution.

Almost three in four respondents said they’re concerned about new variants of COVID-19, three in five said they’re concerned about interacting with unvaccinated people outside of their families and more than half of those surveyed said they are worried about spending time with unvaccinated family and friends. Holiday shopping budgets are still 13% lower than they were in 2019; however, they did increase 30% year-over-year, and 87% of surveyed consumers say they may shop for the holidays this year, up six points compared to 2020.  

“The most effective industry leaders may be the ones who can meet the customer where, when and how they want,” said Jonathan Wright, Managing Partner & Global VP for Supply Chain Consulting, IBM Consulting. “Based on the survey findings, consumer respondents may continue to demand safety requirements for in-person activities, as well as modern-day fulfillment models such as contactless pick-up, same-day delivery; ship-from-store; buy online, pick up in-store, etc. Deploying artificial intelligence, intelligent automation and analytics across an enterprise can build a more adaptable business that can rapidly respond, pivot, and scale up or down, which may be a pivotal enabler when it comes to this holiday shopping season.”

Noteworthy survey findings include: 

An Earlier Start to the Holiday Shopping Season

Holiday shoppers are concerned about shortages, so to increase their chance of getting everything on their wish lists, more than one in four surveyed adults started shopping in September or earlier. Twice as many people surveyed plan to start in October as compared to last year and just under half of consumers surveyed plan to jumpstart holiday shopping before November, weeks earlier than the traditional “Black Friday” start date in the US. 

Online Shopping Still Reigns

While there is notable demand for local products and merchants, online shopping is likely to hold on to its leadership position this holiday season for those surveyed. This statistic is noteworthy when compared to February 2021 IBV data which found that 73% of surveyed shoppers wanted and expected to return to shopping malls and shopping centers after they were vaccinated. Instead, 43% of consumers surveyed say they plan to buy products online and just 36% surveyed say they plan to buy products in a physical store, citing the increasing concern about new COVID-19 outbreaks and variants.

Holiday Travel & Experiences/Activities could be on the Rebound for 2021

According to the survey, travel is predicted to account for a larger portion of the holiday budgets overall for those surveyed, rising to 8.2% from 5.7% in 2020. Though still lower than it was in 2019, almost 40% of respondents said they plan to travel to see family and friends over the holidays, up from 28% last year. Travel budgets are also on the rebound, up 43% over 2020, with international lodging and air travel budgets growing more than domestic air travel and lodging budgets for those surveyed. Local outings and activities, as well as dining out, may see the biggest lift in 2021 with consumers surveyed planning to spend 30% more in this area than they did last year.

Consumers Still Care About Sustainability

Environmentally friendly products may also have a leg up this holiday season. Four in five consumers surveyed say they may consider sustainability to some extent when they’re shopping for the holidays this year, which is consistent with last year’s survey results. This group plans to change their behavior by avoiding single-use plastics, shopping locally and buying more products locally or made locally.

*IBV Study Methodology
The IBM Institute for Business Value polled more than 13,000 adults across nine countries (Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States), to better understand consumers’ COVID-19 pandemic-related concerns and the impact on how people plan to celebrate the holiday season – how it may affect their perspectives on a number of issues, including retail spending, traveling and future event attendance. The full study is available at:

About IBM Institute for Business Value 
The IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) delivers trusted business insights from our position at the intersection of technology and business, combining experience from industry thinkers, leading academics, and subject matter professionals with global research and performance data. The IBV thought leadership portfolio includes research deep dives, benchmarking and performance comparisons, and data visualizations that support business decision making across regions, industries and technologies. Follow @IBMIBV on Twitter, and to receive the latest insights by email, visit:


Tricia Vuiton
IBM Communications
[email protected]


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Retail sales were flat in April as stimulus spending waned

NEW YORK (AP) — Retail sales in the U.S. were flat in April after soaring in March, when many Americans received $1,400 stimulus checks that boosted spending.

The report Friday from the U.S. Commerce Department was worse than the 0.8% rise Wall Street analysts had expected. But it wasn’t all bad: March’s number was revised upwards to 10.7%. Americans started receiving a third round of stimulus checks that month, helping retail sales soar.

The question is whether consumers will continue to spend without stimulus checks. “The April retail sales tip the odds toward slower sales in the coming months,” said analysts at Contingent Macro Advisors.

Friday’s report comes amid other signs the economy is improving as vaccinations accelerate and business restrictions are relaxed. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 473,000, a new pandemic low. And consumer confidence hit its highest level last month since the pandemic began.

On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said vaccinated Americans don’t need to wear a mask or social distance outdoors and in most indoor settings, which may get more people to travel, eat out or shop.

Consumer spending, which makes up two-thirds of all economic activity in the U.S., is closely monitored by economists to gauge the nation’s economic health. Friday’s report covers a third of all consumer spending, but doesn’t include services, like hotel stays or haircuts.

The report on Friday suggests Americans were heading out last month to eat instead of shop. Sales at restaurants and bars rose 3%. But sales fell at stores that sell clothing, sporting goods and furniture.

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Chase entices spending on some United cards with bonuses of up to $240 in travel credit

Chase entices spending on some United cards with bonuses of up to $240 in travel credit

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American Express Says Travel, Entertainment Spending Improving — Update

By Allison Prang 

American Express Co. is seeing consumer spending start to normalize as Covid-19 vaccinations pick up in the U.S. a year into the pandemic.

Spending in travel and entertainment categories last month rose 40% from February and bookings through American Express Travel jumped by 50% in the first quarter compared with the fourth quarter, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Campbell said in an interview Friday. He also said the number of people signing up for the company’s co-branded cards with Delta Air Lines rose 90% in the quarter compared with the fourth quarter.

Card companies took a hit over the past year as lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus led to consumers spending less on travel and entertainment.

Mr. Campbell said there is an inflection point around the improving economy and increase in vaccinations.

“People are finally able to exercise the pent-up demand for travel that we believed in the whole time,” he said.

Billed business in the first quarter for goods and services rose 6% from a year earlier adjusted for currency fluctuations. That business fell by half from a year earlier for the travel and entertainment category for the entire quarter, but it rose in March compared with declines in January and February.

While travel and entertainment spending is showing signs of improving, Mr. Campbell said the company doesn’t think cross-border travel will have fully returned to its 2019 level by 2022.

“In 2022, we’re really assuming…that consumer travel and entertainment spending is mostly back to where it was pre-pandemic,” Mr. Campbell said on the company’s earnings call Friday, adding that “domestic travel in the U.S. and around the globe will be the fuel that gets us to that level.”

Even as the economy and consumer behavior have started to normalize, the company saw e-commerce spending still rise 23% year over year.

“As that physical retail has come back it has not cannibalized the growth we had seen in online and ecommerce,” Mr. Campbell said in the interview.

For the quarter, American Express had a provision expense benefit of $675 million. The company’s provision a year earlier to cover potential credit losses was $2.62 billion.

Profit for the first quarter rose to $2.24 billion, up from $367 million a year earlier, and the company’s earnings were $2.74 a share, topping Wall Street’s consensus according to FactSet of $1.61 a share. A year ago, earnings were 41 cents a share.

Revenue at the company, net of interest expense, fell 12% to $9.06 billion, while Wall Street was expecting $9.21 billion.

American Express shares were down 2.4% at $143.65.

Write to Allison Prang at [email protected]


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 23, 2021 11:47 ET (15:47 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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