Christmas is easily the most expensive holiday in the US. Consumers spend a collective $630.7 billion on the holiday every year, segmented by food expenses, booze, decorations, cards, and, of course, presents. Not only do people of limited means join in on the extravagance, 61% of the participants featured in a new study conducted and published by Credit Cards.com, said they are willing to go deeper into debt to properly deck the halls. This was found to be especially true of Millennials. The survey of 2,571 U.S. adults was conducted between Oct. 2-4, 2019.
Fifty-two percent of the respondents between the ages of 24 and 35 said that they were willing to add to their debt over the winter months, compared to the 49% of Gen Xers and the 34% of baby boomers that said the same.
“Credit cards typically have some of the highest interest rates of any type of debt, meaning that the longer you maintain a balance, the larger the debt you’ll accumulate,” Judith Corprew, executive vice president at Patriot Bank, explained to CreditCards.com in the report.
The new holiday poll offered an interesting insight into the philosophy of those that are chronically in debt. A modest 26% of respondents without debt agreed that Christmas was a valid reason to overspend, compared to the 51% of participants that are currently in debt that disagreed with this sentiment. In fairness, this majority of the pool conditioned their responses around their children. Nearly two-thirds of Americans with children younger than 18 examined in the survey felt that it was okay to spend beyond their means on them and an additional 56% of parents with children over the age of 18 seconded the very same.
Similarly, 46% of the sample said they take on holiday debt to please a family member or a friend (38% specifically mentioned their children while a separate 38% mentioned their romantic partner). Men were also more likely to dive further into debt compared to women, with a deviation greater than 10%.
After the initial portion of the poll was completed, the authors asked the sample that was in debt how they planned to attenuate the situation, and if they did in fact plan to. The most popular proposition involved paying more than the minimum each month. A slightly smaller party of 38% intended to cut extracurricular expenses. Twenty-one percent said they were planning to obtain a balance transfer card, 18% will work a side hustle and the smallest group is going to sell some of their belongings.