Even though you haven’t set the Thanksgiving table, some consumers are already stressing about how much money they’ll spend this holiday season.
According to a new survey from Experian, holiday spending is expected to go through the roof – along with consumers’ financial stress levels.
The survey found that most stress comes from unexpected expenses consumers never plan for, such as postage costs, hostess gifts, gift-wrapping supplies, and greeting cards. Consumers say they’ll spend nearly $300 on these unexpected expenses, on top of the gifts they’re already planning on giving.
And, how much do consumers plan to spend on gifts? Enough to send their financial stress levels soaring.
A year ago, Gallup reported that U.S. adults planned on spending $830 for holiday gifts. That amount was up sharply from 2014, and was significantly higher than in any November since 2007, the start of the Great Recession.
This year, consumers are expected to spend even more. The National Retail Federation reported that consumers plan to spend an average of $935.58 during the holiday shopping season. Six in 10 plan to buy for themselves, spending an average of nearly $140, which is up 4 percent from 2015, and is the second-highest level of personal spending in the survey’s 13-year history.
Statista reports that U.S. consumers spent $29.14 on holiday cards, and bought nearly 13 gifts on average. Forty-seven percent of U.S. consumers bought gifts online, and there were 127 million Cyber Monday shoppers (the Monday after Thanksgiving) last year.
Most consumers put their holiday spending on their credit cards, which means the financial stress they’re feeling will likely get worse in 2017. (As most consumers already know, if you can’t pay off your holiday credit card bills in full, you’ll pay interest on top of the cost of those holiday gifts, making them extra-expensive.)
This year, give yourself a break from financial stress. If you have to put it on a credit card, don’t buy it. Instead of pricey holiday gifts for everyone at the table, make thoughtful gifts, give unframed photos, or bake a special batch of someone’s favorite treats. The holidays shouldn’t have to put you in the red for a whole year. And remember, make your Best Money Move everyday.