Renters Are Trimming Holiday Budgets, Survey Says

By Teresa O’Dea Hein, Managing EditorChicago—Nearly 60 percent of renters surveyed say they are celebrating the holidays more frugally this year compared to last by trimming holiday budgets more than half for gifts, travel and entertainment. A recent survey by Apartments.com also found that gift-giving budgets are taking the biggest hit, with renters planning to spend 69 percent less this year than in 2007 closely followed by travel at 64 percent less and entertainment at 63 percent less. “It appears people are spending smarter, given the state of the national economy,” Tammy Kotula of Apartments.com tells MHN. To conserve holiday budgets, renters are also being more creative in their approach to the holidays. While 18 percent said they are not exchanging gifts at all this year, others are making homemade gifts, purchasing gifts after the holidays and/or hosting more potluck dinners rather than going out to restaurants. Only 24 percent said they’re hosting the holidays in their own residences.Renters are also being careful to spend only what they have and are keeping their credit cards stashed away. About 80 percent of renters surveyed said they are paying by cash, check or debit card for most of their holiday expenses. Only eight percent said they are charging holiday purchases on a credit card. In an effort to keep the holidays affordable, the majority of renters are also not exceeding a tight holiday budget of $200 for expenses on entertainment, travel or gifts.Renters are also planning to stay local to reduce travel expenses, with almost half celebrating the holidays close to home. In fact, 13 percent of renters who typically travel for the holidays are staying in town and another 10 percent are either cutting the length of their trip or moving the date. For the renters who are traveling over the holidays, 44 percent are driving their cars.