Apparently tired of being frugal during the recession, American consumers are trying to shop the country out of the recession and are buying holiday gifts for themselves at the highest rate in six years, with the average shopper spending $107.50 on themselves.
The Washington Post reports that the percentage of shoppers who say they plan to indulge in a little something extra for themselves has risen four points since last year to more than 57% -- the biggest jump in at least six years, according to an industry survey.
Black Friday sales and an increase in sales of jewelry, apparel and consumer electronics is attributed, at least in part, to self-gifting.
"The consumer really is sitting there saying, 'I'm going to take advantage of these deals,' " Marshal Cohen, senior analyst for NPD Group, a consumer research firm, said in the Post report. "This consumer is saying that there really is some pent-up demand."
Self-gifting follows children and pets for getting gifts, with parents and spouses behind shopping for yourself, according to the Post. With the average shopper spending $107.50 on themselves, that might limit you to a few sweaters or a little bit of jewelry.
We thought it would be fun to come up with a list of some of the best self-gifts you can buy, although you might have to splurge on a few of them and spend more than the average self-gifter. We're not recommending going into debt for any of these, or denying your children Christmas gifts, but we'll bet these are the self-gift items you want most:
Who wouldn't want this gadget? For $199, a 16GB iPhone4 can be shipped to you within 24 hours. Of course, that doesn't include a rate plan with AT&T to run the phone and get data, phone calls or text messages. If you want to stick closer to the average self-gift expense, go with the 8GB iPhone3 for $99.
Starting at $499, the iPad is another popular Apple product that will make wasting time on the Internet a lot more fun than plopping a laptop in your lap. You may want to pay more for a 3G one, but if you want to spend as little money as possible, start with the entry model with WiFi and be happy with that to show off to your friends. If the iPad isn't your thing, there are plenty of other tech gifts you may want, such as a Kindle for $139.
This isn't a self-gift to take lightly. Raising a dog will take a lot of work from the entire family, and definitely shouldn't be an impulse buy. But if you're willing to do everything necessary in raising a dog, a puppy is a great gift for yourself and family. Adopting a pet at an animal shelter is inexpensive. The real costs are vet bills, food, getting the dog spayed or neutered, among other expenses that add up to an average of $1,760 in the first year and an average of $1,040 in ongoing years, according to fetchdog.com.
The sky is the limit for spending money on jewelry, but some pieces can be found for less than $100. Unfortunately, a diamond ring will cost at least $1,000, and it's a self-gifting splurge that can show how much of a materialist you are and how buying something can try to replace someone's love.
This may be the ultimate self-gift needed after Christmas shopping. For $100 or less, you can find spa treatments on sale at various places, including at Bally's in Atlantic City. Hand and foot treatments can often be found for less than $100, but expect to pay more for massages and facials.
Whether it's spending $139 on a Kindle or about $20 for a best-seller, a book is a great self-gift to enjoy on your own. The trick is finding the time during this busy month to enjoy it.
If those are too expensive to get you to get the economy moving with a Christmas gift for yourself, then put your cash away and at least give yourself something for free. A website about holistic gifts recommends such self-gifts as honesty and focusing on self-growth. Those sound more like resolutions for a new year, not an indulgence for Christmas. And they probably won't help the economy, at least not in the short-term.
Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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