Survey Finds 37% of Americans Overspent This Holiday Season

In 2018 Americans spent more than $850 billion during the holiday shopping season. That spending level not only rose 5.1% from 2017 but also made it the highest total in six years. Now, according to a new survey by the personal finance site WalletHub, more than one-third of shoppers say they actually overspent this past holiday.

WalletHub’s study found that 37% of respondents felt they overspent during the 2018 holiday season. Luckily 55% of those surveyed say they expect to pay off their holiday debt by the end of this month. However 17% don’t anticipate paying down their debt until at least April of this year. Meanwhile 18% say they’ll be able to pay off their holiday spending by February with another 10% expecting to reach that goal in March. For comparison a previous Wallet Hub survey conducted before the 2018 holiday season found that only 22% respondents expected to still be carrying holiday-related credit card debt in February, with 60% stating that they intended to pay off their balances in full when they came due. Finally, another 18% said they’d likely pay off their credit card debt by January 1st.

Part of the reason so many people end up overspending during the holidays is due to the emotions and sentiments often linked to the season. To that point 30% of respondents say spending more makes the holidays happier. Similarly 20% told WalletHub that the holiday were worth taking on credit card debt for.

Ironically, while shoppers may have spent extra to ensure their loved ones were getting what they wanted, 34% of Americans report that they will likely return a holiday gift they were given. As you might expect clothes were far and away the most likely gifts to be returned followed by electronics and toys. In case you were wondering, gift cards and books were among the least returned items.

Prior to last year’s holiday, the National Retail Federation predicted that the average American would end up spending a total of $1,000 on gifts, decorations, and other festivities. Alas, even with that eye-popping figure, it seems some shoppers managed to even top that. The good news is that the majority of those surveyed said they’re still on track to pay off their debt by the end of the month — which hopefully means they won’t incur any interest. But, for those who may have overspent this holiday season and will continue to carry debt deep into the new year, hopefully 2018 will be the last time they make such a mistake.

Author

Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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