The holiday season is typically known as the most wonderful time of the year, evoking images of family and friends gathered around the dinner table, traveling to see loved ones near and far, and exchanging gifts with our nearest and dearest.
For many Americans, though, the season of giving can also be the most stressful, with the costs of gifts, food, travel, and more quickly piling up. In fact, nearly one in two Americans (47 percent) expect to take on some debt this holiday season, according to our 2019 Holiday Wallet Woes report.
Keep reading for a closer look at how finances are impacting how we celebrate the season.
The Holidays, Reimagined
In order to avoid debt, many Americans are willing to get creative about the way they celebrate the holiday season – whether that’s opting out of receiving gifts (26 percent), not traveling to see family members (15 percent), or even giving up hot water for a month (4 percent).
So what can cash-strapped Americans do? Purchasing your items using a rewards credit card could help put savings back in your pocket, if used responsibly. Depending on the rewards program, cardholders can earn a percentage back in cash for each qualifying transaction or earn points that can be redeemed for merchandise – perfect for purchasing gifts – or travel to visit family during the season.
The Costs of Celebrating with Children
For parents with children, the holidays are understandably more expensive. Nineteen percent of Americans with children under 18 plan to take on more than $1,000 of debt this holiday season, and of those 19 percent, nearly one fifth (19 percent) are planning on taking on more than a whopping $4,000 of debt.
And when it comes to giving their little one the best holiday ever, nearly one in five parents (19 percent) with children under 18 say their spending has “no limits” when it comes to giving their child(ren) a joyful holiday.
For parents making large purchases this holiday, a 0% annual percentage intro rate (APR) credit card with free introductory balance transfers may be the solution to accruing debt. Transferring debt or making large purchases with an interest-free promotion can help you save money on high-interest charges and shed that holiday debt more quickly.
Holiday Proposals On Hold?
According to Brides magazine, the holidays are the most popular time of the year for engagements. So, it’s no surprise that unmarried couples head into the holidays ready to face a barrage of family wondering when they are going to seal the deal and friends waiting to hear news of an engagement on social media.
With the average cost of an engagement ring nearly $6,000, according to The Knot, it’s no surprise that 68 percent of unmarried millennial men (aged 18 to 34) and 59 percent of all unmarried men don’t feel financially ready to propose this holiday season.
For large purchases like engagement rings, a personal loan may help in limiting the financial impact. Personal loans offer qualified consumers low interest, fixed monthly payments, and a line of credit to make their purchase. This would work best for borrowers with good or excellent credit.
And while men may feel financially unprepared to propose this holiday, women are open to breaking traditional proposal norms to make their engagement dreams a reality this holiday season, with some going as far as being willing to purchase their own ring.
Whether you’re making a large purchase for the holidays or not, planning ahead and budgeting can help you avoid money pitfalls and come out of the season without having to sacrifice gifts, travel, and more.
Download the full 2019 Holiday Wallet Woes Report here.
All data, including figures, statistics, and visual representations in this report, unless otherwise stated, are based on a poll conducted by YouGov Plc, commissioned by WalletJoy. Total sample size was 1,330 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between October 11th and 14th, 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (aged 18+).