Americans must feel pretty good about their budgets this year, because they’re planning on spending a lot on the holidays. The typical American adult plans to drop $830 on Christmas shopping this year, compared to the $720 average last year, according to Gallup.
If you take out the share of people who aren’t planning to buy anything, the average spend goes up to $908. That’s up from $780 last year.
Gallup surveyed more than 1,000 adults in the 50 states and D.C. between Nov. 4 and 8. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points. Gallup also surveyed Americans in October about their Christmas budgets, and in years past, people have scaled back their spending plans between October and November. Not this year. People said they were going to spend $812 around Christmas, as of October, but now they’re saying $830. In 2014, the estimate slid from $781 to $720, and in 2013, people changed their plans from spending $786 to $704.
Americans haven’t planned to buy this much since 2007, when Gallup’s November survey put the average Christmas spending at $866.
Just because a survey says the typical shopper plans to spend $830 this Christmas season doesn’t mean that should be your guideline. If you want to avoid overspending, debt or damaged credit, set a holiday budget based on your own situation.
Planning ahead can give you more time to look for sales or spread out your spending over multiple paychecks or credit card billing cycles. Keep in mind that opening up new credit cards can cause a small ding in your credit scores (and applying for many accounts could make a huge dent). If you shop using credit cards, remember that getting close to your credit limit can also hurt your credit score. To keep an eye on how your credit card spending affects your credit, you can get two free credit scores every 30 days on Credit.com. It can help you look at your scores for signs of fraud, too.
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