Here's What the Average Consumer Spent Over Thanksgiving Weekend. How Does Your Total Compare?

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  • Despite higher borrowing rates and inflation, consumer spending was strong over the holiday weekend.
  • Cyber Monday sales actually hit a record high, with consumers spending $11.3 billion.
  • Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the average consumer spent $325.

Did you spend more than you expected to?

It's been a tough year for a lot of people thanks to inflation. Higher living costs have forced many to make tough choices, and that includes cutting back on holiday purchases.

But initial data on holiday spending indicates that most Americans aren't cutting back. If anything, they're spending more.

Consumers aren't holding back

Some experts were projecting a weaker-than-usual holiday season for retailers due to the combination of inflation and higher borrowing costs resulting from the Federal Reserve's interest rate hikes. But based on retail sales over Thanksgiving weekend, it seems like consumers aren't curbing their spending at all.

The National Retail Federation found that the average consumer spent about $325 on holiday purchases between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That's higher than the average $301 spent last year during that same time frame.

Meanwhile, Cyber Monday spending broke a record this year. Consumers spent a whopping $11.3 billion that day alone, according to Adobe Analytics. That's a 5.8% uptick from 2021.

If consumers continue to spend at a comparable level, it could be enough to stave off a recession. But whether consumers can really afford to do so is another story.

Did you overspend on Thanksgiving weekend?

Maybe you got tempted by a host of Black Friday deals over the holiday weekend. Or maybe you couldn't peel yourself away from your laptop on Cyber Monday and kept scooping up bargains. Whether your total credit card tab for Thanksgiving weekend was somewhere in the ballpark of $325, lower, or higher, you may have spent more than what you initially budgeted for.

If that's the case, first of all, don't panic. Many retailers have flexible return policies, so you may be able to take back some of the items you bought and get that money refunded. And if that's not something you're looking to do, you can compensate by curbing your spending in the coming weeks.

Now that may have to involve altering some holiday plans. But it's an important thing to consider if you don't want to close out 2022 with a pile of credit card debt.

A reason to be hopeful, but cautious

The fact that consumer spending seems to be holding strong is a good indicator for the economy. And it means that some of the recession warnings we've been hearing may be overblown.

But we're also by no means off the hook as far as a recession is concerned. And so the last thing you'll want is to end 2022 with debt hanging over your head. If economic conditions worsen in the new year and your job ends up on the chopping block, having debt payments to make could prove to be extraordinarily stressful.

Meanwhile, if you didn't overspend over Thanksgiving weekend, give yourself a pat on the back -- but also, do your best to stick to a budget in December. Just because Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over doesn't mean retailers are done offering deals. And you may be tempted to buy things in the coming weeks that you can't afford so easily. If you can find a way to resist that temptation, you'll put yourself in a stronger position to start off 2023 on a financially healthy footing -- and be ready for a recession if economic conditions do indeed worsen.

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