Take a Holiday Spending Halftime

Have a List, Check it Twice

Date: December 11, 2013
Contact: Paul Golden 303-224-3514, [email protected]

DENVER—Consumers are feeling more confident about their ability to manage holiday expenses this year, but with just two weeks left in the shopping season everyone can benefit from a spending reality check.

According to an online survey commissioned by the National Endowment for Financial Education and conducted by Harris Interactive in November 2013 among over 2,000 U.S. adults, 39 percent of Americans are much/somewhat more concerned about being able to afford holiday expenses this year compared to their level of confidence five years ago. This is a big drop from NEFE’s 2011 holiday spending survey1, when 49 percent said they were more concerned about holiday spending than they were five years before. However, the NEFE poll finds six out of 10 shoppers still plan to go online or head to the stores without a budget, meaning they could end up overspending.

“Having a budget and shopping plan will help ensure you do not have a spending hangover come January,” says Paul Golden, spokesperson for NEFE. “If you’ve taken care of everyone on your list, you may think you’re done spending. But nothing could be further from the truth. You need to consider all holiday-related expenses from gifts and decorations to travel and any parties that you may host or attend. Many budget-busters like entertaining, gift wrapping and shipping come in the weeks leading up to the holiday,” he says.

Now is the time for consumers to give themselves a holiday halftime reality check with these tactics:

  1. Have a spending plan. If you haven’t already, write down everyone you intend to buy for this season including the anticipated dollar amount per gift. Before heading to the store, check online to estimate the cost of each item and do some comparison shopping. Account for all expenses in addition to gifts and have a pre-set amount.
  2. Use cash. With a small amount of research and a realistic look at your budget, you can determine how much money you will need per shopping excursion. Withdraw that amount in cash and leave your credit cards at home. This will help curb impulse buying and save money for the things you really need.
  3. Check your list—twice. After each shopping trip, be sure to cross people off your list and record how much you really spent. This will give you a tally of your actual spending and may even reveal places where you are under budget. Be sure to avoid impulse items and shopping for yourself.
  4. Sweat the small stuff. Holiday spending is about more than gifts. The costs of shipping, home decorations, gift wrapping, transportation, entertainment—and even ingredients for holiday meals—can add up. Don’t forget to factor in tokens of appreciation for teachers and service providers, such as trash collectors and postal carriers.
  5. Make adjustments as needed. Your holiday halftime reality check may reveal that you need to adjust your budget. Before you start slashing people from your list, consider scaling back in other areas. For example, you could replace store-bought holiday cards with handmade ones, or reduce the amounts on gift cards.

For more holiday spending tips, resources and information, visit the Holiday Spending Guide at www.smartaboutmoney.org.

Survey Methodology

Harris Interactive® fielded the study on behalf of the National Endowment for Financial Education from November 22-26, 2013, via its QuickQuerySM online omnibus service, interviewing 2,033 U.S. adults aged 18+. Data were weighted using propensity score weighting to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity and propensity to be online. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, click here.

1Conducted online by Harris Interactive from November 10-14, 2011

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Contacts

  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    [email protected]

  • Patricia (Pat) Seaman

    Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

    Direct: 303-224-3538
    [email protected]

Contacts

  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    [email protected]

  • Patricia (Pat) Seaman

    Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

    Direct: 303-224-3538
    [email protected]