Christmas Clubbers have cash - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Christmas Clubbers have cash

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

November 14, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Retail spending dropped at its worst level on record last month. Simply put, Americans aren't shopping as much.

One infusion into the retail sector may come with those planning to buy Christmas gifts this winter, but even those who have planned ahead, may use some of that Christmas cash to cover other expenses like bills. 

With less than six weeks until Christmas Day, folks are eager to start shopping for the holidays.

Many, like Ken Faust, filed into the Artesian Federal Credit Union to pick up their Christmas Club checks Friday. "It's just an easy way to spend money for Christmas," Faust said.

Each pay period, money is automatically placed in a separate savings account, just for Christmas. But some of the money people have set aside for shopping this year, may instead be used to pay bills.

Steven Gilmer says most of the money he saved will go to buying gifts... but any leftover is going into savings. "I think most use the accounts to buy Christmas. That's not the only reason. Some people pay year end expenses, taxes, house insurance, things of that nature."

"The way the economy is going, people are trying to save as much money as they can and don't have the money to spend," Gilmer says.

And people may chose to spend less, because they are worried about their jobs.

"They're going to be hurting by this. Those that have the Christmas Club accounts, they'll utilize them to buy Christmas, most will, any spending in addition to that, I'm not sure. I'm just not sure at this point," says Ted Simpson, Artesian Federal Credit Union President.

Of course folks who didn't set aside money for Christmas spending this year, may decide to do very little shopping, hurting the retail sector even more.

Even those who planned on using credit cards to buy could be in trouble as credit lines have been cut.

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