TAMPA - As you go through most malls, the thing that stands out besides the traditional holiday shopping crowd is the sale signs-- "Buy 3 get 3 free," "Save up to 50 percent."
If that's not an indication that things are a little different this year when it comes to spending this should be.
"Last year I did not care about prices or anything," Dakota Jersevic said. "This year, I am looking at all sales and everything that is on sale."
In fact RetailNext estimated the weekend before Christmas retail sales fell, as fewer people passed through store fronts on their way to the cash register.
"We're spending less this year," Diane Vollbracht said.
She said she didn't know if that was necessarily the result of a bad economy or just her desire to be more economic.
"I think the mentality is to be more frugal."
Is the same true for small local businesses?
We went to Hyde Park Village in South Tampa with quaint shops and boutiques.
They all told me the same-- holiday sales are up.
"I think we are definitely doing better this year," said Jenni Bernstein with Downtown Dog.
"I defiantly see that a lot of people are wanting to walk around, especially in the village, which is a really nice atmosphere. A lot of people are coming out to support the small stores and the local businesses."
From Hyde Park we traveled to the Dale Mabry area where there is a lot of traffic.
Does that translate into foot traffic?
"It was a little slow during Thanksgiving, but it's definitely picking up," Andrea Vega at Andrea Lauren Elegant Interiors said.
The season may have started slow, but things are now looking good.
"People come in. They're looking around," she explained. "They're buying little things. They're buying big things."