By: Kelsie Weekes
It's that time of year again. Americans are hitting the stores, searching for the perfect gifts and scoring some great deals. But there is one change being seen in the holiday shopping frenzy: how people are choosing to pay for these gifts.
Pam Dean is one of many people who have stopped using credit cards and are relying on debit cards and cash to do their holiday shopping.
"Mid-2006, that's when everything went downhill," Dean recalls. "Everything went up, gas prices, everything else. There was just not a way to pay credit card bills, electric bills, car payments, and house payments."
Dean has a lot of company in her new spending habits. The National Retail Federation reports only about 27 percent of Americans plan on using a credit card to do their holiday shopping this year. That's the lowest number since 2002.
Store employees are noticing the trend as well. Randy Harness of Dick's Sporting Goods says more people are using debit cards and cash, most likely because they are planning better.
"I think they're being able to manage their money wiser this time of the year because of the recession," he says. "They know how much they need to spend."
And Dean is spending her money wiser this year. After she maxed out her credit cards and was unable to pay the high interest rates, she says she will never make the same mistakes again.
"I trust myself that I'm not going to do it again. I know what it can do," Dean says. "But at this point if I was offered them, I wouldn't even want them. If it's not in the bank, then it's not on my debit card, then I just don't spend it."
Like Dean, more Americans are choosing to go green this year, by using cash.