Between the travel, the food, and the gifts, it’s no surprise that the “most wonderful time of the year” is also the most stressful time of year for half of Americans, according to the survey.
NEW YORK — Everyone wishes they had a little more spending cash during the holidays, but a startling new set of research reveals that many Americans are spending beyond their means each holiday season. A survey commissioned by Yelp of 2,000 American adults who annually celebrate a winter holiday found that 28% have gone into debt to cover their holiday spending.
For the survey’s purposes, holiday spending encompassed not only purchasing gifts, but also buying food for large meals and traveling to visit family. The survey’s respondents indicated that after racking up large debts to cover these expenses, it usually takes them a full three months to pay it all off. On average, respondents said they plan on spending $972 on holiday-related costs this year. Still, many admitted they will probably end up spending more.
Overall, 53% said they set a budget for the holiday season, but only 20% said they “always” follow it. The survey broke down the respondents by age, as well. Millennials were the most likely to set holiday budgets, at 63%.
Among those who struggle to stick to their budgets, the average participant will overspend by $489, and a quarter will exceed their budget by over $500.
Most respondents (46%) said they overspend while buying gifts for others. Another 19% said they usually overspend while buying food for home-cooked holiday feasts, while others cited purchasing food at restaurants (14%).
In fact, 36% of the survey’s respondents said they are more likely to eat out during the holidays than during the rest of the year. Within that group, 57% also admitted they are more stressed about food costs when dining out during the holiday season.
All that spending adds up to 49% of respondents agreeing that the holidays are the most stressful time of the year, with millennials the most likely to agree, at 58%.
Hosting a dinner or holiday party (51%), hosting people staying over at one’s house (45%), and traveling to stay with someone else (45%) were listed as the most stressful aspects of the holiday season, according to respondents.
At least some Americans are starting to recognize they are spending too much — four in 10 say they are planning on cutting back their holiday celebrations to save some money, and 22% even said they are considering skipping a celebration altogether.
On the subject of holiday parties, the survey also identified another area that many Americans seem to be overspending on: preparations. A total of 26% have rented tables or chairs for a holiday party, 29% have hired a cleaner, 24% have hired a caterer or private chef, and 22% have hired someone to help with decorations.
The study was conducted by OnePoll.