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Women'??s Holiday Shopping Secrets Revealed: Women Shopping Early for the Holidays

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Women & Co., Citi'??s personal finance resource for women, and Real Simple, the leading women'??s lifestyle brand, today released results from their 2012 Women'??s Holiday Shopping Report, providing an in-depth look at how women across the U.S. are approaching holiday shopping this year. According to the national survey of 750 women, most are willing to spend significantly on what matters to them during the holidays, with the majority spending at least $700 on holiday expenses, and 1 out of 3 spending $1,000 or more. At the same time, they are finding creative ways to cut back on expenses '?? by exchanging homemade gifts, bargain-hunting at several retailers, using coupons, and shopping year-round.

Is Black Friday for slackers?

Only 11 percent of women surveyed say they start shopping on Black Friday. Instead, the majority of women are shopping early '?? with 41 percent starting their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving and 22 percent shopping all year long for the holidays.

Holiday budget: What they'??re spending on

The majority of women admit to spending at least $700 on holiday expenses '?? between gifts (almost half '?? 48 percent '?? spend at least $500); travel (56 percent spend at least $100); food/entertainment (51 percent spend at least $100); holiday cards (73 percent spend $50 or less); charity (57 percent spend at least $50); and more.

Where they'??re cutting back

While the majority (60 percent) say they have no regrets when it comes to holiday spending, forty percent called themselves bargain-hunters who visit several retailers and clip coupons to get the best price. They are also looking for creative ways to prioritize and save.

  • When considering what aspect of holiday expenses they would prefer to cut back on the most, respondents say they would rather cut back on gift expenses than costs associated with cooking and entertaining '?? and 42 percent wish they could stop exchanging gifts with certain people.
  • Another 52 percent of women have started exchanging handmade gifts to cut down on costs, with baked goods being the most popular homemade present.

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Who they'??re spending on

The majority of respondents say they buy gifts for at least 10 people, with 1 of 4 purchasing gifts for more than 15 people during the holiday season.

  • Of those who buy presents for their spouse, partner, children, parents, and in-laws, the majority spend at least $100 each on their gifts.
  • The majority of those who buy gifts for siblings, nieces, nephews, and other relatives spend $50 or less per person.
  • Of those who shop for friends, co-workers, pets, teachers, and child care providers, the majority spend less than $25 each.

The season of giving: Majority of women donate $50 or more

For most women, holiday prep is not solely focused on buying gifts and holiday entertainment '?? 57 percent spend at least $50 or more on charity during the holidays. Thirteen percent say they spend $300 or more on charitable holiday donations.

Holiday budgeting: Is it worth the debt?

The survey also explored women'??s attitudes towards budgeting for the holidays and their willingness to go into debt to have a happy holiday.

  • The majority of women (93 percent) have some sort of holiday spending budget.
  • 43 percent think it is okay to accumulate some credit card debt in order to have a happy holiday, yet the majority plan to pay it off in less than one month.

Momtrends was not paid for this post.

Visit Women & Co. at www.womenandco.com for money-saving holiday shopping tips and tricks, and RealSimple.com for ideas for homemade gifts and checklists to simplify the process. For detailed results from the 2012 Holiday Spending Report, visit the Women & Co. blog and RealSimple.com.

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