As people check items off their shopping lists this holiday season, they’ll be keeping another type of list too: how much they’re spending. A survey by Discover showed that more people this year than last are keeping a budget in mind when shopping for gifts and other seasonal necessities.
Fifty-seven percent of people surveyed said they have a budget for holiday spending this year. Last year, only 52% were sticking to a spending plan. About half of this year’s budget-makers are keeping their spending under the $500 mark.
In what could be seen as a sign of continued economic improvement, 30% of people said they planned to spend more this year than last, a change from 2013, when only 23% expected to spend more. Of those, 30% who will open their wallets a bit wider this season with 49% saying it’s because they have more people on their gift list this year. Thirty-two percent said they received a raise or started a new job this year, allowing them to spend a little more on gifts, food, decorations and other holiday items.
Earning those holiday reward points
Holiday shopping presents a good opportunity for racking up credit card rewards, and many shoppers planned to take full advantage. Of the 40% of consumers who said they would use credit cards to pay for the majority of their holiday shopping, 87% said they would choose which card to use according to which card would earn the most credit card bonus points or cash back.
Last year, only 29% of folks said they’d put their purchases primarily on a credit card, and 76% of those planned to pull out their rewards cards at the register.
Credit card rewards provide a big incentive for many people to make their holiday purchases with credit cards; 55% said that their biggest reason for using credit isearning rewards.
During the holidays, many rewards credit cards give more cash back and points in popular shopping categories. This year, Discover card is offering 5% cash back on all online and department store purchases up to $1,500 through December 31, for a maximum of $75 cash back.
Mobile browsing, not buying
Although mobile devices are increasingly popular for banking, shopping, and making payments, it seems people prefer to use them to browse, not buy, this holiday season. When Discover asked survey participants how they would use their smartphones this season, 46% said they would use them to compare prices while they are shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, and 38% said they would use them to look for product reviews.
The Discover holiday shopping survey was conducted between October 28 and November 4, 2014, and included responses from 1,504 participants.