The holidays are a stressful time of the year. People are losing sleep over how much they spend during the season on expenses like gift-giving, while others are stressed over travel expenses, and even hosting their in-laws. What’s supposed to be a joyous time of year gets under the skin for most Americans — and even puts more than a quarter of Americans into debt, according to a new survey.
A survey of 2,000 Americans conducted by Yelp with OnePoll discovered that 28% of respondents said they’ve gone into debt during the holiday season due to expenses from traveling to holiday spending. That debt has an average life-span of three months, which leaves family and friends chipping away at bills through March.
The study, which took a deep-dive into spending habits, found that respondents plan to spend $972 on holiday-related costs this year, with many having to over above and beyond what they expected by overspending.
Just barely over half of the respondents (53%) said they have a budget for the holiday season, but only one-fifth said they “always” stick to it. By generations, Millennials are the most likely to have a budget, with 63% admitting they do.
As for how Americans overspend, gifts for family and friends were the most popular answer with 46% of respondents admitting that’s where they’ll crack open their wallets. Food and drinks — at home and while out — were also popular responses, according to the survey.
The stresses of the holidays
There’s no denying it — hosting a party is stressing Americans out.
Fifty-one percent of respondents said hosting a party or dinner during the holiday was the most stressful. There’s also a trend involving family and friends which stresses Americans. Forty-five percent said having friends or family stay with them, while an addition 45% said traveling to see family or friends. Twenty-nine percent going out to dinner with family or friends also peeved them.
When it comes to hosting for the holidays, respondents said cleaning their home before they hosted dinner was not calming (41%). Others stressed not having enough time to get everything ready (38%), preparing meals (36%), and cleaning up the home before hosting (34%) were troubling.
If you’re traveling this holiday season, you’re likely to experience these stresses respondents worried about. Keeping costs down while traveling (41%) was the most popular response, followed by bringing gifts and making sure everything is packed (29%), purchasing gifts for family and friends (28%), and finding proper housing like hotels (22%).
The most stressful ways to celebrate the holidays
1. Hosting a party or dinner: 51%
2. Friends or family staying with me: 45%
3. Traveling to see family or friends: 45%
4. Going out to dinner with family or friends: 29%
5. Taking a vacation: 24%
The most stressful parts of hosting for the holidays
1. Cleaning their home before a hosted dinner: 41%
2. Having enough time to get everything ready: 38%
3. Preparing holiday meals: 36%
4. Cleaning my home after a hosted dinner: 34%
5. Preparing their home for houseguests: 34%
Most stressful parts of traveling for the holidays
1. Keeping costs down while traveling: 41%
2. Bringing gifts and packing everything: 29%
3. Purchasing gifts for family and friends: 28%
4. Cost of eating out: 25%
5. Finding hotels/lodging: 22%
How respondents relieve stress
1. Home cleaner: 28%
2. Caterer or private chef: 16%
3. Home organization: 14%
4. Holiday decorator: 12%
5. Home services professional, other than house cleaner: 10%
Secret cost of the holidays:
• Gifts for family and friends ($270.02)
• Food and drink at home ($117.19)
• Food and drink when eating out ($97.66)
• Clothes/beauty items ($71.43)
• Entertainment/things to do ($67.76)
• Childcare ($29.56)
• Decorations ($46.34)
• Christmas tree ($34.38)
• Plane tickets ($74.07)
• Hotel or vacation rental ($76.46)
• Cleaning their home ($29.85)
• Updates to the guest room ($25.22)
• Items for kitchen or dining room ($32.23)
Total = $972.17