The stockings are hung, the lights are lit, the tree is donned with tinsel… Heck, the 5-foot snowman is even inflated in the front yard.
But it all comes at a price…
This year, the average American over the age of 18 plans to spend $61 on holiday decorations. That’s $20 more than they planned to spend a decade ago.
Since 2004, the average expenditure on holiday decorations has increased more than 69%.
Year over year, spending to create a Rockwell Christmas has increased by more than 5%.
And it’s all part of a larger trend…
According to the National Retail Federation’s annual consumer spending survey, Americans plan to rack up a $1,047 bill on average this holiday season – up 4% from last year.
And a Credit Karma survey suggests that 27% of them will go into debt in the process. In fact, 43% feel that going into debt around the holidays is inevitable.
And we’re not looking at just a little debt…
Forty-two percent of shoppers plan to rack up more than $500 in debt.
And 22% of those who went into debt to finance the holidays in 2018 are still paying off that debt.
While we fully support being generous around the holidays, please don’t go into debt to do so.
According to the Federal Reserve, the average interest payment on a credit card is 17.14%. If that $500 is the only balance you’re carrying – and you’re making a $10 monthly minimum payment – you’ll pay a staggering $326 in interest to pay it off.
That means you’ll be paying 65.2% more later for the gifts you’re buying on credit now.
There are things other than money that you can be generous with – specifically your time.
Homemade gifts are often less expensive – yet, because of the time investment, they have a higher perceived value. For example, you could knit a pair of socks (cost: $10) or make a frozen meal that can be made in the Crock-Pot (cost: $15).
Or you can simply offer your time…
If you have the luxury of living close to your loved ones, plan an evening to watch your favorite holiday movie.
If they live far away, write them a letter or give them a call.
Regardless of how you plan to spread cheer this year, it’s not worth going into debt.
And I guarantee, in the long run, a homemade gift or handwritten letter will be worth far more than a blow-up yard decoration.
P.S. What’s something unique that you’re doing for your loved ones this holiday season? Please share in the comments below.