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Holiday Spending by the Numbers

A recent study by credit reporting agency Transunion and NerdWallet revealed that most of us intend to spend an average of $338 on a gift for our significant other this holiday season. If you can afford it, you’re fine, but most of the people surveyed indicated they would likely go into debt to make the purchase. 

The average gift figure is even more staggering than it first appears, at least for married couples or partners who share finances. The $338 hit for one gift is high enough, but if both spouses splurge on holiday gifts, the resulting bill tops out at just under $700 – a hefty portion of anyone’s holiday spending.

How to Avoid the High Cost of Holiday Spending

Choose a Gift Together

Take a fresh look at that average $700 price tag for two separate gifts – what could you get for yourselves or your home if you spent just a portion of that together? From a new television to cooking classes or a quick romantic weekend at a local B&B, you may find that you come up with something you both like better than an expensive surprise gift.

Set a Budget Early

Choose a dollar amount you can agree on together, and spend just that amount. The actual amount you budget is up to you, but whether you decide to spend $100 each or $20 each, you’ll know exactly what you are getting into. Love a challenge? Interject some frugal fun into the holiday by setting a low gift limit and seeing who can score the best present at that price.

Reap the Rewards of Spending

If you do decide to splurge – and agree on an amount ahead of time, consider using a rewards or loyalty card to make your purchases. You can rack up a few extra points or credits as you shop and both of you will benefit in the long run.

Communication is the key to coming up with a holiday spending plan that works for you and your spouse or partner. Taking the time to discuss the holiday, your expectations and your more frugal options well in advance can help you avoid both a headache and a heartache later.