If you needed any more proof that consumerism, commercialism, and every other known “ism” related to buying stuff is slowly sucking the life out of our nation’s holiday spirit, a new survey should convince you to try and remember what’s really important this Christmas. It says that half of America would skip Yuletide altogether if they could.
Think Finance recently surveyed 1,000 Americans across all income levels who use various forms of alternative financial services (payday loans, prepaid debit, and direct deposit advances) found that 45 percent of Americans find the holidays to be a source of both stress and strain on their finances.
Despite a slightly improved outlook on the nation’s economic future over last year and more optimism regarding the financial security of many, nearly half of Americans would skip Christmas if they could. That same half said that they don’t expect to have enough money set aside for the holiday season.
More statistics, broken down by NBC News: “Eight-five percent of those in this year’s survey plan to spend the same amount of money or less on gifts this year, with 54 percent planning to spend $500 or less, and 27 percent planning to spend between $500 and $1,000 on holiday gifts.”
Many of those polled are planning on using alternative purchasing methods to assuage some of the spending stress brought on by the holidays, including layaway programs and other options beyond credit cards. Think Finance’s CEO Ken Rees said that he believes this shows consumer demand for more alternatives and financial options beyond just credit cards:
“The economy has shown gradual improvement in recent years, but everyday Americans are still working hard to cover expenses making holiday spending particularly stressful,” Rees said.
Though the year-over-year focus on Black Friday deals and commercial advertising may guilt Americans into rising to each year’s challenge of spending more and more during the holidays, our suggestion is simple. Don’t put yourself out on a limb to “afford the holidays.” We don’t think you’re asking for more ways to buy stuff, we think you want to worry about buying stuff less. Get yourselves some eggnog, sit by the fire (or put one on TV) and just relax for a little while.
And that’s the sappiest editorial opinion you’re going to hear this holiday season.
Happy holidays and try not to get killed out there shopping for deals. You don’t have to skip Christmas. You have our permission to skip Black Friday.