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While the pandemic, supply chain issues and inflation have disproportionately affected Americans living below the poverty line, the middle-class will face struggles this holiday season, as well.
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A recent survey conducted by online financial services website One revealed that 46% of middle-class families polled will carry a balance on their credit cards to be able to afford the gifts they want to give. The majority of respondents reported earning between $50,000 and $99,999 annually, while just over 17% earned between $100,000 and $124,999.
The survey also found that 58.95% have not actively saved for the holiday season this year, and 52.56% do not have a predetermined budget for their holiday spending. Even so, the majority (57%) estimate they will spend between $101 and $750 on holiday gifts, with almost 24% saying they expect to spend between $251 and $500. Nearly one-third (32.79%) said they intend to spend less this year than last year, but 47.25% reported no change in their spending plans.
If you haven’t written a budget or started your holiday shopping yet, it’s not too late. There are still ways to keep your spending under control, minimize your holiday stress and get your loved ones the gifts they really want this year.
Create Your Budget Now
Whether you intend to use your credit cards or stick to debit cards and cash this holiday season, creating a budget can help you avoid overspending.
“The holidays are a time to be generous, and we all love finding the perfect gifts for family and friends. But if you’re not careful, going overboard could end up derailing your long-term financial goals,” says Tony Molina, CPA and product evangelist at financial services site Wealthfront. “The first thing you should do to stick to your budget is to make a list of who you’re buying gifts for and how much you’re willing to spend on each person. Writing down this list can help you visualize your finances and see where you can afford to spend money.”
Brian Hamilton, CEO of One, suggests “spending mindfully” and taking advantage of financial products like the One card to budget effectively for the holidays. The One card enables you to separate your deposits into individual “pockets” of money that can be used for specific expenses, such as bills, rent or mortgage, food, travel or holiday gifts.
“When you’re are deliberately creating buckets of money for a specific purpose, you can keep it mentally segmented so you’re not overspending,” Hamilton says.