More Americans Feeling Pressure to Overspend Over the Holidays
More Americans feeling pressured than last year
Feeling stressed about holiday spending? You’re not alone. This year, 46 percent of Americans feel pressure to spend more than they can afford during the holidays, up from 39 percent in 2014, according to an online survey conducted in October by Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust Banks Inc.
And it comes as no surprise to me that parents are among those overspending. T. Rowe Price's 2015 Parents, Kids & Money Survey showed that 62 percent of parents agree with the statement, “I spent more for my kids over the holidays than I should have.” The survey sampled 1,000 parents of 8- to 14-year-olds nationally in January 2015 and found that most parents use their current income (56 percent) and credit cards (47 percent) to cover holiday spending. However, the survey revealed that 7 percent of parents go into their retirement savings, and 9 percent tap into their emergency fund.
I suspect that every family has one spouse who is more indulgent where it comes to spending than the other, who is simply trying to stay within budget. Something to consider the next time you’re making an impulse buy (I’m talking to myself here): Parents who overspend on holiday purchases are more likely to argue. The T. Rowe Price survey found that 50 percent of the parents who overspent on the holidays argue about money with their spouse, while only 27 percent of parents who did not overspend argue about money with their spouse.
So who is overspending? According to the T. Rowe Price survey moms have better holiday saving habits than dads. Moms are more likely to save for holiday spending throughout the year, while dads are more likely to use inappropriate funds when it comes to paying for holiday spending.
So as we approach the season of peace, love and joy, showing some restraint in holiday spending may be the key to family bliss. Of course, that’s easier said than done, so here are some tips from SunTrust for staying on track:
- Make a plan: Set limits on your spending, shop for sales and stay within your means.
- Cash in rewards: Use credit card rewards accumulated throughout the year to help cover the cost of gifts or travel during the holiday season.
- Download your bank's mobile app: Check your balances on a mobile app to better track saving and spending.
- Sign up for overdraft protection: Link a checking account with a savings account, credit card or line of credit to avoid fees and ensure you don't get stuck at the cash register.
- Set up text alerts: Arrange for text message alerts when your balance is running low to help avoid overdrafts and remind you when it's time to transfer money.
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