Across the country, a sudden shift is taking place.
Bobbie Cleave, a retired teacher in Utah, has put off plans to get a badly needed car. Brian Chandler, a data manager in metro Atlanta, is delaying buying a house, despite needing space for his second child due any day now. Retired police officer Richard Huffman of Michigan may ditch plans to re-enter the work force.
And several families CNN spoke with said they're shrinking the gift pile beneath the Christmas tree.
As the nation approaches the so-called "fiscal cliff," people are taking steps to cushion their families from the plunge.
To them, the threat to the nation's economy requires preparation - particularly with President Barack Obama warning that going off the cliff could cost the average family of four more than $2,000.
But some say the fears are just hype.http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/05/us/fiscal-cliff-americans/index.html