Although consumer confidence is at a 17-year high, and unemployment stands at a 17-year low, economist Robert Murphy of Boston College is anticipating a bearish economy exiting this holiday shopping season. Murphy's tell? Retailers reliance on steep discounts in an effort to encourage purchases. That, along with consumers' increased borrowing, decreased saving, and stagnant wages and Murphy's soothsaying begins to look more prescient.
Still feeling the embarrassment from camping outside a department store on a chilly Black Friday to save $100 on a TV set you didn't need? If the irrationality of Black Friday hasn't given you pause this holiday shopping season, perhaps Richard Thaler, famed economist and recipient of the 2017 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, can help sprinkle some economic rationality onto the rest of your shopping list.
The Christmas tree market is merely a reflection of economic times of eight years ago. So just like looking through a telescope is like looking back in time, so too is gazing upon this year's' crop of trees. The Great Recession from 2008, then, explains why you may pay a premium this year for that Douglas Fir. Turns out that dip in sales resulted in a smaller harvest, which drove prices up—almost 10 years later.
Considering a non-conventional gift for that tech-savvy sweetheart this holiday season? Why not send them a portion of Bitcoin? This forward-thinking gesture may provide a return on its value for years to come, which makes it the perfect gift for that person on your list who you just don't know what to get. It's like putting cash in their stocking, only better.
Fraud is expected to soar this holiday season. Here are two ways you can stay safe online this gift-giving season. 1) Avoid checking your bank account or making purchases over public Wi-Fi. 2) Be careful with the websites you give your credit card information to. Make sure the address bar contains both "https" and a padlock icon in the URL. These two steps will assure a much safer online shopping experience.