According to a new study, 43% of Americans would rather skip the holidays this year because of the financial strain it puts on their bank account and credit card statements.
And that number is even higher for consumers who use alternative financial products, like prepaid debt cards, check cashing and payday loans. More than half of those respondents (54%) would like to put the kibosh on the holidays to keep their finances in check.
Having a tighter budget this season is at the top of the list, with just about a third of survey takers saying that they don’t have the funds to cover holiday expenses. The solution for some is making cuts. Just over a third (36%) said they dropped some friends and family off the gift list to stay on budget. That number goes up to half for people using alternative banking services.
Being responsible vs. holiday cheer
Even with cost-cutting moves, more than two-thirds of participants expected to start the new year with some debt in their financial portfolio. For 36% that debt includes credit card balances, 32% have a mortgage, and 28% are carrying car loans.
While many Americans have some kind of debt, nearly all (98%) said it was fairly important to have good credit. Forty-three percent said they were seeking methods to boost their scores.
It’s not just the holidays
Sure the holidays bring added financial stress, but according to the study it is a year-round issue. Over half (55%) of respondents said that they frequently felt stressed out about their finances. Nearly a fifth (17%) said they barely get by.
Financial institutions took a hit in this study, with just over half of participants indicating that they aren’t interested in the needs or wants of the customer.
The study was sponsored by Think Finance, a financial products company. It was conducted by Harris Interactive through interviews with 2,082 Americans over 18. This number included 567 people using alternative financial services. The survey took place in November 2013.