Other findings from the study include:
- The average holiday spend among African Americans who set a budget is $762. Some 25% plan to spend between $101 to $500 this holiday season, while 50% reported they did not know. Some 19% of African Americans start saving for the holiday season at the beginning of the year, while 17% start in the fall. Fifty-one percent said they don’t save for the holiday season.
- A strong 79% of African Americans reported they do not have trouble staying within their budget during the holiday season, while 21% reported that they have trouble sticking to a budget at that time. Asked what their biggest expense is during the holidays, 57% of African Americans cited gifts while 18% reported cooking at home.
Another interesting discovery from the survey revealed that only 51% of people have a budget for holiday spending. That means just under half of all shoppers don’t take the time to make a budget or even know how much they spend.
Lincoln Financial offered these tips for holiday shoppers to consider:
Plan ahead and make a budget
Smart shoppers will make a budget, check it at least twice and stick to it. “It’s tempting to splurge at this time of year, but it’s important to ensure that holiday spending doesn’t derail your finances,” said Jamie Ohl, president, Retirement Plan Services, Lincoln Financial Group. “As with all financial matters, planning is a good way to stay on track, even when you’re tempted by sales and impulse buys.”
Save money throughout the year for holiday spending
While millennials are spending more, they are also the generation that is most likely to save for their holiday expenditures. Some 64% of millennials plan ahead for December spending, while only 49% of Gen Xers, 36% of boomers, and 28% of Goldens put money away for holiday expenses.
Don’t go into December debt
Anyone who receives a new wallet this holiday season may have less cash to put in it, thanks to their holiday spending. Nearly a third of all Americans often start the new year with holiday debt, and 31% of those who do set a budget for the holidays have trouble sticking to it.
“Gifts you give others shouldn’t be at the expense of your own financial future,” said Ohl. “Planning ahead and creating a holiday budget can help ensure that you’re able to spend this holiday season without sacrificing your other savings or even more importantly, your retirement savings.”
Focus on what is important (and free)
Traditions drive many events around the holidays, but spending doesn’t necessarily align with people’s favorite traditions. Whether giving for eight days or one, gifts are the biggest holiday expense for 67% of Americans, yet only 8% say that purchasing or giving gifts is their favorite holiday tradition. Many reported no cost associated with their favorite traditions, including gathering with family and friends, sharing a special meal, attending religious ceremonies, and enjoying lights and decorations.
Treat yourself to a great holiday, years from now
Millennials are the most likely to take advantage of holiday sales to buy what they really want— 62% spend money on themselves as well as others during the holiday season versus 49% of Gen Xers, 37% of boomers and 27% of Goldens. But rather than spending extra money on gifts for themselves now, shoppers may want to instead bolster their retirement savings or expenses related to education or long-term care. See some online tools, calculators, and information on financial planning at lincolnfinancial.com.