The holidays are all about thoughtfulness and giving – but too many people feel pressured to give until it really hurts.
Despite the rising cost of living and inflation woes, it’s still predicted that 95% of people will indulge in a little holiday spending – and the average person will spend around $1,600 on gifts (although they may get less for their money).
Many of them cannot afford it. About half (52%) of the consumers in this nation racked up some credit card debt during the 2022 holiday season, and 31% still haven’t paid those bills off. About 74% of shoppers expect to break out their credit cards this year, too.
That’s just the way that the credit card companies and retailers like it
The entire holiday shopping season is designed to subtly (or overtly) pressure consumers into buying more.
The sales that are broadcast in every ad and in email boxes everywhere create a false sense of savings through sales and discounts that encourage people to buy things they don’t really want and won’t really use just because it seems like a good deal. They also create a false sense of urgency or scarcity (by implying that the items are limited in quantity or that each sale is special and won’t ever come around again) that can trigger impulse buying.
Store cards and credit cards alike offer significant discounts and cash-back rewards to make sure that consumers use them as often as possible so that they “save” more – but those savings dissipate due to interest charges when the bills aren’t paid immediately.
Finally, there’s a lot of social pressure – which is also encouraged in every Hallmark movie and ad shown on television – to keep up with friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers when it comes to gift-giving and celebrations, even when it isn’t affordable.
It can be incredibly difficult to get out of a debt trap once you get in one. If you find yourself wishing for nothing more than a fresh financial start this holiday season, it may be time to learn more about your debt-relief options, including bankruptcy.