FAST FIVE: Inflation-Shocked Americans Plan To Cut Back On Christmas Gifts, Donations To Charity

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Despite a strong job market, a little cushion in savings accounts, and early signs that inflation may be slowing, the high cost of living has unnerved Americans.

According to the University of Michigan, household sentiment over the past six months is comparable to the credit-crisis, when unemployment was off the charts and the financial system was at the precipice.

The Journal notes that the index “echoes wary levels of the 1970s, when inflation climbed to double digits.” In an August Bankrate survey of 2,415 adults, 84% of holiday shoppers will employ tactics to save money this year using coupons, discounts, buying less, and shopping for cheaper items or just making presents themselves.

-WSJ Wells Fargo financial planning specialist Michael Liersch, who heads up the bank's local advisers in branches around the US, said he was taken aback by just how many families are talking about scaling back this year.

Holder told the Journal that people are facing a tough holiday season, “particularly those who have to make choices between buying toys, putting food on the table or paying utilities.” Meanwhile, requests for assistance with people in need are up 25% to 50% from last year, Holder said.

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