Fed Up With Holiday Gift-Buying? You're Not Alone

A new survey says Americans are growing weary of the gift-giving frenzy, and the pressure - and debt - that comes with it.

Spend, spend, spend. It's the post-Thanksgiving mantra - duty even - to hit the web, the mall and everywhere in between and buy, buy, buy gifts for the holidays.

A new survey from Bankrate.com suggests Americans are fed up with the pressure.

Indeed, nearly half of all Americans say they feel squeezed to spend more money on holiday gifts than they are comfortable with spending. Women and parents in particular are feeling the pinch, with more than half of them stressing over how much they are spending on gifts.

They survey also shows that just because you're in a higher tax bracket doesn't mean you feel the burn any less. The highest and lowest earning Americans -- those making $75,000 or more a year and those making $30,000 or less a year -- reported feeling a similar push to spend more than they would like during the holidays.

Gift-Giving Boycott

For 31 million Americans, the pressure to overspend is enough to make them to consider boycotting gift-giving outright, while others would consider alternatives, such as the 22% who would gladly re-gift presents this year, or the 16% who would consider giving second-hand items as gifts.

Adrian Garcia, a data analyst with Bankrate.com, says there are ways to lessen the financial burden of holiday gift-giving.

"Avoid overspending by determining a budget at least a few weeks ahead of time and set expectations for exchanging with your family and friends," he says. "You can also be creative and find ways to reduce your overall spend and focus instead on making gifts meaningful rather than expensive."

Women and millennials lead the charge on willingness to give homemade gifts to save money, with around two in five agreeing to do so. Around one in five parents and Millennials were willing to give second-hand items as gifts.

There was one thing most Americans agreed on when it comes to saving money on gifts: Sales and coupons. Roughly three in five Americans would actively seek out discounts and in-store sales to cut their costs. Women (62%) and parents (63%) were the most willing to browse the sale section to save on their holiday shopping.

"Exchanging gifts should be a part of how we enjoy the holidays -- not a stressful financial burden," says Garcia. "We shouldn't throw financial best practices out the window just because it's the holiday season."

The Bankrate.com study was conducted online in Ispos' Omnibus using the web-enabled "KnowledgePanel," a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the US general population, not just the online population. The sample consists of 1,000 nationally representative interviews, conducted between October 12-14, 2018 among adults aged 18+. The margin of error is +/-3.7 percentage points.