If the thought of buying all those Christmas presents has you stressed out, you’re not alone. A new survey says 45 percent of Americans who use alternative financial services would just as soon skip the holiday altogether.
“It makes perfect sense,” said KIRO Radio’s John Curley. “When you think about it, the commercialization of the holiday is just undo pressure and there’s nothing fun about Jan. 7 and opening that credit card bill and seeing you spent $700 or $800. It’s gone, the thrill of it is all gone and you’re left with having to pay it off.”
The survey of 1,000 people who use services like payday loans, prepaid debit cards and direct deposit advances by Think Finance, found 45 percent say the holidays are a significant source of strain and stress on their finances.
Nearly 45 percent also say they don’t expect to have enough money set aside to cover the expenses of the holiday, CNBC reported.
The stress is understandable. Even without the holidays, about 41 percent say they would only be able to get by for two weeks without a paycheck, while an additional 25 percent say they could only survive a month.
The survey says 59 percent of those in the survey expect to carry debt with them into the New Year, including some 54 percent of those who earn more than $100,000 a year.
“I’ve been in the position where I’ve made less than $50,000, and it is tough,” agreed KIRO Radio’s Ursula Reutin. “Especially if you have a big family and you feel the pressure to get everyone an equal amount.”
The survey finds 54 percent are planning to spend $500 or less, and 27 percent planning to spend between $500 and $1,000 on holiday gifts this year.
It might not ease all the stress, but Curley offers an unconventional approach to holiday spending his family tried when he was 16-years-old.
“We were all sitting around the Christmas tree on Christmas day. He said ‘What did you pay for that sweater?’ I said 65 bucks. He says ‘I saw it on sale yesterday for $28. I got a great idea.'”
The idea? He proposed pushing next year’s celebration back two days. “Alright look, you’re going to get twice as much crap for half the price,” his dad said.
They all voted in favor, except for John’s mom.
“It didn’t feel that different,” Curley said. So the next year they pushed a few days later, and got even more stuff. But after a few years of the Curley family Christmas stretching well towards New Year’s and beyond, the family decided to simply stop giving gifts altogether. The Curley’s had killed Christmas.
John admits he and his younger brother felt a bit cheated, but ultimately decided the end of gift giving wasn’t such a bad thing.
“When you’re an adult, you don’t need your brother-in-law giving you a sweater,” Curley says. “I don’t shop for you, you don’t shop for me. Let’s just call a truce on this. Let the kids have the presents.”