The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 25, 2013

Shoppers are hunting for bargains

Budgets tight, they say

By Robert Stoneback
The Daily Item

— HUMMELS WHARF — A shortened shopping season won’t trouble Christmas buyers this year.

What most are concerned about is finding ways to save money in a tight economy.

Some, like Andrew and Amy Allvord, of Hegins, participate in a “Christmas Club” offered through their credit union. This program lets them regularly put aside a part of their paychecks, which is saved for the Christmas season.

“The year before, we budget out what we’re going to spend,” said Andrew, while shopping at the Susquehanna Valley Mall. On the Allvords’ shopping list are gifts for their two children, 2 and 4.

Newlyweds Adam and Amanda Hockenbrock, of Selinsgrove, aren’t looking to spend as much this year because the holidays are closely following their October nuptials. They are still on the lookout for a food saver, which can vacuum seal bags to preserve freshness. They received one for their wedding and liked it so much they want to give one as a gift.

Harrison and Loni Briner, of Dalmatia, are looking to spend less this year due to their extended family. Loni Briner is one of six children, which means they have had to buy gifts for 12 nieces and nephews on previous Christmases.

“We’re having a big Christmas party instead,” said Loni.

She and Harrison Briner will still be buying for their parents and grandparents, as well as their 2-year-old son and 7-month-old daughter.

This was the family’s first time at the Susquehanna Valley Mall in two years. Loni Briner prefers to do a lot of her shopping online these days, but wanted to save money on shipping costs.

Justin Moore and Jennifer Hilsdorf, of Sunbury, are budgeting for a move to New Jersey, which is cutting into both their time and finances for holiday shopping.

“I’m mainly a procrastinator anyway, so I was planning on going late,” Moore said.

They’re putting money into a savings account to cover the move, but are still picking up gift cards for family members. They like to see their friends over the holidays, so like the Briners they plan on holding a party to have a chance to see all of them.

The couple is looking for one gift for themselves, though, one of the newly released PlayStation 4 video game consoles. They’re expecting that to be a tough item to find, Moore said.

Ellice Fullam, of Mifflinburg, who was at the mall with Brandon Moore, of New Berlin, is looking to save money through online retailers.

“I’m looking at a lot of deals online,” such as Cyber Monday offers, she said.

For her parents, she’s looking to buy a dishwasher.

“They haven’t had one in 20 years,” she said.

Also on her shopping list is her 2-year old niece.

“I’m a nice auntie. I like to buy the loud, obnoxious toys for her,” Fullam said.

Christmas isn’t as exciting a holiday for Fullam any more, but she has a lot of fun watching her niece get excited about it.

n Email questions or comments to rstoneback@dailyitem.com.