28 days and counting: Is the talk of the "fiscal cliff" impacting holiday shopping?

Posted at: 12/03/2012 10:25 PM
Updated at: 12/04/2012 12:37 AM
By: Lynette Adams

There are 28 days until January 1. That's when taxes on most Americans will go up if lawmakers don't find a way to avoid the “Fiscal Cliff”. The combination of expiring tax cuts and across the board spending cuts is threatening to have a major impact on the economy. For the average American, if a deal is not made, it will ultimately mean less money in your paycheck. That's news many don't want to hear when thinking about holiday shopping.

Kimberly Harewood, of Middletown, NY, said, “It does make me a little nervous because I'm a little uncertain about what the future holds.”

Kimberly Harewood is not only making a list and checking it twice, she's set a spending limit this holiday season. She says she normally looks for bargains, but talk of the fiscal cliff has made her a little more cautious.

Harewood said, “But I think as long as your are a smart shopper all along, you can get by on it.”

Harewood isn't alone, the news coming out of Washington is making people uneasy. Under the law, automatic tax increases and cuts to domestic programs will go into effect if Congress and the White House don't have a deal before the first of the year. Pittsford resident Grace Soong says the last thing people should do is cut back.

Grace Soong said, “It's like a domino effect, if people start cutting back, retailers will start losing money, then people that they hire, they will be firing or laying them off. It really is a domino effect it always ends up coming back to you.”

Jack Shuttleworth says it is hard to stay in the moment and not think about the future. He says his family is shopping a little earlier to take their minds off of all the what ifs.

Shuttleworth said, “It's a tough season for everybody with the cliff looming but it something that, the holidays are a special time of year and we're trying to keep those concerns out of our heads and enjoy the season for what it is.”

That is Will Carroll's plan. This Rochester resident says Christmas comes only once a year.

Both Harewood and Desiree Duncan agree, it won't matter what happens in Washington, it won't affect how they live.

Duncan said, “We've had a lot of practice through college, dealing with no money. So we think we'll be pretty comfortable having a little less money.

Mike Kauffman, of Eastview Mall, says if people are cutting back because of worries over the economy, it doesn't appear they are cutting back on the holiday spending. He says November sales were very strong and he says that's usually an indication of how the holiday season will go.