Consumers feel worse about their finances than last year with 41 percent saying they plan to spend less during the holidays, according to a survey by the Consumer Federation of America.
Retailers are hoping for a busy Black Friday to kick off the holiday shopping season, which traditionally contributes 20 percent to annual retail sales.
"Shop local, please!" Leslie Kinder, a business owner in Wichita, Kan., said. "The economy needs you to spend your money with us little guys this year. Do your homework and you'll find the local guys will give you just as good a deal as the big box stores, and they'll give you good service to boot."
Overall, only 8 percent of shoppers plan to spend more than they did last year, according to the 12th annual survey released Monday by the Consumer Federation of America and the Credit Union National Association.
Of the 1,011 survey respondents across the country, 37 percent said their financial condition is worse now than a year ago, compared with 30 percent who felt similarly last year.
Many ABC News Facebook fans said they will not be shopping but working, trying to perhaps improve their own financial standing. Some workers have expressed dismay over stores' earlier opening times, as an more retailers announced they will open at midnight or even earlier. Toys "R" Us will be opening at 9 p.m. for the first time this year.
Kathy Kaufman Weber said it was "very iffy" that she would go Black Friday shopping at all. If so, she said she would be "much more likely" to shop at stores opening at midnight.
"I will not get up at the crack of dark to go to a store where it is likely to not garner me anything worthwhile," she said.
Donna Johnson McNeece said she will be "going to bed early and sleeping in" after cooking for two days "on my feet."
"That sounds better to me than trying to get around a store full of people, who seem to lose their manners on that day," she said.
The Consumer Federation of America survey responses showed an improvement from the downbeat results of 2008 in which 55 percent said they intended to spend less.
But from 2000 to 2007, the percentage who said they planned to spend less never exceeded 35 percent. The federation notes that because consumers always spend more than they intend, the year-to-year comparisons, not the absolute levels, are what's meaningful for predicting spending.
The survey showed a direct link between financial condition and spending. Of those who said they planned to spend more, 33 percent said their financial condition had improved since last year, while only 19 percent said it had declined. Of those who said they plan to spend less, only 15 percent indicated their financial condition had improved while 55 percent said it had worsened.
Jean Mohler in Canton, Ga., said she is not exchanging gifts this year. Instead, she is "holding on" to the money she she has and will be "giving things to friends and family I already own."
"Good food, good family gatherings, laughs and love -- those are my gifts!" she wrote.