WASHINGTON — You’re not on the “naughty list,” Santa Claus is simply out of cash! That’s what many Americans are saying this year, with half of a new poll blaming inflation for a quieter-than-normal holiday season.
In fact, 50 percent say rising prices and a weak economy means “Santa will be less generous” in 2022.
For some, jolly old St. Nick won’t even be able to afford something small to stick in their loved one’s stocking. The November 2022 WalletHub survey of 400 people found 40 percent of Americans are actually foregoing purchasing any holiday gifts this year because of inflation.
“People don’t seem to be in a very giving mood,” says WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez in a statement.
Many not waiting for Black Friday
For those still planning to buy presents this holiday season, many aren’t bothering to wait for the biggest sales to hit stores and websites. The poll found 47 percent are starting their holiday shopping earlier this year. Fortunately for them, they don’t even need to put their pants on to do it — since 56 percent plan to do more of their holiday spending online this year compared to 2021.
Although consumers are doing more of their shopping online, many are cutting back overall. More than one in four (28%) plan to spend less on holiday gifts this year in comparison to last year.
Interestingly, some things Americans would pay more for include “peace and quiet” (52%), faster delivery (40%), friendly customer service (28%), and gift wrapping (25%).
Holiday shoppers preparing to feel the credit crunch
Once the holidays are over, many Americans will soon have another problem to deal with — credit card debt.
Nearly one in five respondents plan to apply for a new credit card to help them pay for holiday gifts in 2022. Even if they’re not opening up a new card, roughly half the poll say they won’t be able to pay off all their holiday bills by their due dates.
Even worse, all that new debt is likely piling on to lots of old debt consumers are still holding. More than one in four respondents confess that they still have credit card debt sitting around from the 2021 holiday season!
That’s not good news, since a recent poll found the average American is already carrying $25,139 in debt. If an emergency situation pops up during the holidays, 42 percent would not be able to afford an unexcepted bill of $1,000 or more. However, if your credit is in solid shape, a new card could work in your favor.
“Getting a new credit card for the holidays is a great idea, especially if you have a credit score of 700 or higher and can qualify for the best offers. You could save $300+ on your holiday shopping by using a new credit card that offers a big initial bonus for spending a certain amount in the first few months the account is open. Your holiday purchases can actually help you qualify for the bonus,” Gonzalez explains.
“If you expect to spend more than you can afford to pay by your credit card’s due date, look into using a credit card with a 0% introductory APR. After all the Federal Reserve rate hikes, regular credit card interest rates are even higher than usual right now.”
Charities could struggle this winter
With less money in their pockets and higher prices everywhere else, it’s no surprise the WalletHub survey also found that Americans are also not feeling very charitable this year. One in four plan to make few donations during the 2022 holiday season.
Interestingly, that’s not stopping some people from “promising” to make a charitable donation. A new study finds a majority of people make a verbal promise to give money to charity, only to forget or break that promise later on.