Americans Attempt To Be More Frugal With Their Holiday Spending

American Consumer Credit Counseling survey finds majority of consumers plan to spend as little as possible or less than last year when it comes to holiday shopping budgets.

Boston, MA – November 18, 2014

How to avoid holiday debtsThe majority of budget-conscious consumers plan to be frugal with their holiday spending this year, according to a new survey by American Consumer Credit Counseling. The online survey found that while 35 percent of respondents plan to spend the same amount as last year, 20 percent indicated they were spending less and 32 percent indicated they plan to dish-out as little as possible for gifts because they are struggling financially.

This information supports the recent release of a Pricewaterhouse Coopers 2014 Holiday Outlook, which found that the average holiday season spending per household will fall to $684 this year, from $735 in 2013, primarily because of sluggish salaries and rising costs of living. Despite this, only 42 percent of consumers indicated they will adhere to a budget with 45 percent of women, versus 39 percent of men stating they have a specific spending plan.

“It’s surprising that with the majority of consumers indicating such cautious spending behavior that less have laid out a plan to track and budget their money throughout the season,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Consumers need to have a detailed budget that clearly lays out their spending plan all year, but especially during the holiday season when retailers ramp up added temptations and sales.”

Of the respondents who did plan on keeping a budget, the majority are attempting to keep budgets for spending and expenses relatively low with 30 percent of respondents to the ACCC survey indicating a total budget of $250 to $500. Of those spending less than $250, 24 percent have allocated $100 to $250, and 22 percent intend to spend below $100.

When it comes to holiday expenses such as travel, entertainment, parties and meals, the majority of respondents, 39 percent, have allocated less than $100, while 17 percent plan to spend nothing.

“All too often consumers forget to budget for the office Yankee swap or the family holiday party,” Trumble said. “What may seem like small expenses can quickly add up and make a major dent in your wallet. Be sure to consider these additional expenses when budgeting your spending for the season.”

The good news, according to the ACCC online poll, is that the majority of consumers are turning to cash to make their purchases this holiday season, with only four percent of people indicating they intend to use a credit card compared to 62 percent of people who plan to use cash, check, or a debit card.

“Relying strictly on credit cards for purchases can create long-term financial distress, especially if you lack the finances to pay them off without accruing interest” said Trumble. “Eventually, come mid-January the bills are going to pile up and many may find themselves in the midst of a holiday debt hangover.”

American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) has created an infographic to illustrate their findings and other statistics on this subject, which can be found here:

The holiday spending poll was the latest in a series of ACCC web surveys for 2014 that focus on a variety of financial education, budgeting and planning topics.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization, that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

  • For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
  • For bankruptcy counseling. call 866-826-6924
  • For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
  • Or visit us online at 

About American Consumer Credit Counseling

American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management and debt relief through education, credit counseling, and debt management solutions. Each month, ACCC invites consumers to participate in a poll focused on personal finance issues. The results are conveyed in the form of infographics that act as tools to educate the community on everyday personal finance issues and problems. By learning more about financial management topics such as credit and debt management, consumers are empowered to make the best possible financial decisions to reach debt relief. As one of the nation’s leading providers of personal finance education and credit counseling services, ACCC’s certified credit advisors work with consumers to help determine the best possible debt solutions for themACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies.  To participate in this month’s poll, visit and for more financial management resources visit