Local News

More residents say they will buy less this Christmas season

SEBRING - It may not be good news for retailers, but during a non-scientific survey downtown Tuesday, most people said they expected to spend less this year during the Christmas season.

Susan Higgins and Andrew Lyons, who were browsing together downtown, followed that trend.

"It's just harder times," Higgins said.

"The money is not coming in as it used to," Lyons added.

Levi Todd also said he planned to spend less. Todd, who arrived in Sebring from Olympia, Wash., said that's because "I'm unemployed and I'm away from home."

Similarly, Lee Llwellyn said he planned to spend "a lot less" because of the economy."

The economy, work and other factors are leading to Kristen Angel to cut spending, she said, after paying her utility bill, while accompanied by her children to whom she referred as her angels.

"I'm trying to spend less," she said.

Jan Johnson said she plans to spend a "little less."

When asked if the economy played a role in that, she said, "That would be a big part of it."

But not everyone was cutting spending because of the economy.

Kristin, who would not give her last name, said she and her husband decided not to buy gifts for some people for whom they bought gifts last year because of their behavior, she said.

"They're on the naughty list," she said.

Dawn Smith also said she wasn't cutting back because of the economy. She said she planned to buy cheaper gifts. She said she is trying "not to be overindulgent."

And Wayne Safford was the only person who said he would spend more this year.

"I think I've already spent more," he said. That's because he has more nieces and nephews for whom to buy gifts and he's trying to help out his sister who recently gave birth, he added.

But Susan Hutter said she's spending less. "I'm retired and I've got to watch the money I spend," she said.

Don Cresy, another resident, said he would spend about the same this year.

That many of the residents are spending less doesn't surprise Linda Tucker, who owns a book store downtown. People have less money and they're spending less, she said.

She said she's spending less on Christmas this year.

Val Charapata, however, said she would spend about the same. Her grandchildren are now young adults so she will get them gift certificates like last year, she said.

One man sitting on a bench downtown holding a cell phone that appeared to have no signal said "it doesn't look very good right now," in regards to spending money for Christmas.

The man, who declined to give his name, said he was an electrician, but was laid off. He's only been able to find odd jobs, he said, adding that his phone service was cut off recently, his unemployment compensation ran out and he sleeps in his vehicle.

"I'm a worker," he said. "But there's no work."


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