Holiday Shopping Tips From Behavioral Economists – Bloomberg 11-27-12

Salient to Investors:

Cass Sunstein at Harvard writes:

  • Joel Waldfogel at University of Minnesota said Americans spend $65 billion on winter holiday presents every year, much of which is unwanted.
  • Personal debts tend to jump after December.
  • Most people have an exaggerated sense of how much other people are like them so beware of thinking that other people will like what you like.
  • Focusing on a product or activity doesn’t matter as much as people think it does, so give gifts that people will actually use daily or weekly.
  • Don’t be unduly influenced by how you feel on the day that you are shopping.
  • Don’t be amazed that people don’t love what we’ve selected.
  • Don’t neglect the cumulative costs of individual expenditures.
  • People are not watching you as carefully than you think they are – the mere existence of the present may matter more than what it is, so worry and spend less on what you get them.
  • Consider a family moratorium on Christmas presents for anyone over 15 years old or give a donation in their name to a charity of their choice.

Read the full article at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2012-11-27/why-holiday-gifts-receive-more-ughs-than-oohs-.html.

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