Survey: Americans in holiday shopping debt before holiday shopping even begins

Holiday shopping began earlier than usual this year, probably because of the late Thanksgiving date leading to a shorter shopping period. Numbers from the National Retail Federation found that 39% of holiday shoppers planned to start spending before November this 2019, in order to spread out their budget and avoid the crows. Another 43% planned to start in November, with only 18% planning to wait until December.

“Consumers don’t wait for Thanksgiving or Black Friday anymore and neither do retailers,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said, in a release.

Perhaps that’s why, by Cyber Monday, they’re already in debt! A survey commissioned by Yelp and carried out by OnePoll of 2,000 American adults revealed that 28% of Americans who traditionally celebrate a winter holiday have taken on debt to deal with their holiday spending.

Frosty, help us!

“Holiday spending” included not only buying gifts, but also food for large meals, and traveling to visit family.

And paying it off doesn’t come easy – respondents said that it usually takes them three and a half months to pay off holiday spending debt.

The average budget people set on holiday costs is $972, but people say they’ll probably end up spending more. While 53% say they set a budget, only 20% say they “always” follow it. (Millennials were the most likely to set a holiday budget, at 63%).

And for those who just can’t follow a budget – or who get too much into the spirit of things! – the average participant will overspend by $489, and a quarter will go over by $500.

It’s all for the common good, however: most respondents (46%) say they overspend while purchasing gifts for others. Another 19% say they usually tip over their budget while buying food for a holiday feast. Perhaps a nice scene like Chevy Chase’s turkey dinner in Christmas Vacation.

And 14% said they chipped into the bill for a feast away from home, at a restaurant. (Maybe the Chinese restaurant in A Christmas Story.)

The biggest times of stress during the holidays include hosting a dinner or party in your home (51%), having people stay over at your home (45%), and traveling to stay with someone else (45%).

Americans are realizing it’s all getting to be too much – nearly 40% say they’re planning on cutting back their holiday celebrations to save money – as well as their sanity!

Of course, the holidays are really about remembering those who have nothing at all – and making a connection with them. Here’s to them.