RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Many people are facing a tough reality this holiday season -- whether they have to save or can splurge.
Economists say it will be a mixed bag this Christmas.
Carol Erceg spending Friday picking up new trimmings for the tree this year and as for what's going under it, there is a theme.
"I do a lot of sales shopping; why should i pay full price?" she said. "I've been buying stuff that's been on sale, using coupons."
Erceg is saving wherever she can while others are ponying up whatever they have to for a perfect Christmas.
"My kids, I have four kids, so they're all getting everything they want and need," said Raleigh's Justin Spears.
A new report shows that people's outlook on the economy is improving and fears about inflation are easing.
There are some improvements in day-to-day spending. Gas prices are down from where they were, but food costs are still up.
North Carolina State University Economist Mike Walden said it's hard to predict where the economy is heading.
There was record consumer spending in November.
The Federal Reserve estimates more than a trillion dollars is sitting in household savings accounts, in part because of COVID-19 programs.
"We're probably going to see more spending during Christmas than we would have expected with all these concerns where the economy is heading, but again - not everyone is going to be able to participate in that because we always have people who are the low end of the income ladder and they're just not getting resources to that," said Walden.
The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina is hearing from pantries and soup kitchens that there's about a 40% increase in demand since before the pandemic.
"Just general cost of living means people's budgets are stretched even further, so we are seeing people who are newer to the hunger relief system trying to find other resources to help feed their families this holiday season,' said Food Bank spokesperson Jessica Whichard.
The ABC11 Together Annual Food Drive was able to bring in roughly 1.5 million meals for our neighbors in need.
Gen Z turning out enforce for holiday shopping season, ignore inflation talk.