SHERMAN OAKS (CBS) — Guilty pleasure? Or just desserts? Experts say the tough economy is prompting shoppers to gift themselves this holiday season.

Many shoppers are ready for a little reward after a tough couple of years.

Andrea Fox is one shopper who feels no guilt about spoiling herself this season.

“You have to treat yourself,” says Fox. “You have to keep yourself happy, otherwise you can’t keep everybody else happy.”

And she’s not the only one. The National Retail Federation reveals six out of ten shoppers plan to capitalize on holiday sales and discounts this year to purchase their own gifts.

The federation suggests that self-gifting, which had all but disappeared during the height of the recession, is finally making a comeback.

Consumers are expected to spend an average of $130 on themselves to be sure they get what they want.

“It’s not like it used to be,” says Julia Devr, owner of The Closet boutique at the Fashion Square Mall in Sherman Oaks.

Devr says her customers began self-gifting on Black Friday, and they make no qualms about their desire to splurge on themselves.

“They buy boots,” says Devr. “They buy bags, accessories, stuff to go out.”

Some experts say the most satisfying gifts are the ones you ask for, and recipients who say they want to be surprised often find themselves the most disappointed.

But some warn shoppers to be careful to avoid budget-busting when self-gifting.

Some ways to stay on budget?

  • Do your homework: Find out who has the best deals by researching online before you hit the stores.
  • Use the “two-fer” logic: Shop sales that are buy one, get one. Give one as a gift and keep the other for yourself.
  • Be patient and practical: Don’t rush to buy yourself something you don’t need or won’t use.

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