(NAPSA)-The majority of Americans expect to spend as much on the holidays this year as they spent on them last year-or more. The Coinstar National Currency Poll showed that 80 percent of Americans will be spending the same or more during the 2004 holidays-an average of $892 per household.
Experts say many consumers will supplement their holiday shopping budget with the spare change they have stashed away. It's estimated that Americans have an average of $99 in "found money" around the house. This spare change can be used to purchase a variety of seasonal items:
Wreaths, trees, and seasonal flowers to decorate the home
Ingredients at the supermarket for a holiday meal, including a turkey with all the trimmings
Coats, sweaters, scarves, boots and gloves just in time for that winter chill
Holiday gifts for loved ones
A fruit or wine and cheese gift basket to send to a friend
Specially ordered holiday cards to mail to friends and family
Stocking stuffers, including CDs, DVDs and movie tickets
A bottle of champagne for the holiday toast
An unwrapped gift or toy for a local holiday drive
Tickets to a seasonal concert or show.
Gift cards are also growing in popularity as holiday gifts. According to the Coinstar survey, 57 percent of Americans say they plan to give friends and family the gift of choice this year with a gift card.
"We expect the convenience and choice that gift cards afford will continue to fuel their growing popularity," said Gretchen Marks, vice president of marketing, Coinstar, Inc. "Gift cards fit the bill for today's busy holiday shoppers who are looking to save time and eliminate stress when it comes to choosing the right gift."
Coinstar operates a network of more than 11,000 self-service kiosks in supermarkets across the nation. The machines accept unsorted change and count it at the rate of 600 coins per minute. Customers receive a printed voucher for the full amount of the transaction, less a nominal service fee, redeemable for cash or store credit.
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