More than 40% of parents have foregone holiday gifts to spend more money on their kids

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New research conducted by OnePoll commissioned by Self reveals that parents will go without gifts in order to buy more for their children. (Photo by on Unsplash)

Nearly half of parents have gone without gifts for themselves or their partner in order to afford more gifts for their children, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 parents found that 46 percent have taken this measure, prioritizing their children’s gifts over ones for them and their partner.

Results also found that nearly six in 10 (59 percent) admitted, when it comes to shopping for presents, they’re most likely to overspend on their kids.

A large part of that pressure seems to be coming from the playground, since 71 percent of parents said they worry about their kids going back to school and hearing what other children received over the holiday break.

The study, commissioned by Self and conducted by OnePoll, examined the spending habits and concerns that surround the festive gift-giving season.

It revealed 61 percent would willingly damage their credit score in order to make other people happy with their purchases.

All that credit card swiping causes massive amounts of stress since 39 percent admit to being “extremely concerned” about their holiday spends.

Seventy-one percent will be tossing and turning due to lack of sleep as they fret over their holiday bottom-line.

And the survey found the average respondent will overspend by $541.79 and take 4.3 months to pay off their holiday purchases.

All that overspending catches up, as 48 percent said they’ll be cutting back after the holidays so they can pay off those big purchases.

“Around the holidays there’s a lot of pressure to please everyone — your friends, partner, family, kids, whoever — and be extra generous,” said James Garvey, CEO of Self. “Unfortunately, people often equate generosity with spending a lot of money. That can leave you in a tight financial spot for months to come if you don’t prepare for it ahead of time.”

Even the best budgeters can be struck by sticker shock at the end of the merry season. Fifty-three percent admitted to underestimating how much they’d be spending on food for their big family dinners.

Forty-eight percent thought they’d keep their gift shopping under control, but wound up overspending.

Other frequently underestimated spends included entertainment (43 percent), decorations (41 percent) and clothing (38 percent).

Respondents revealed their tricks to help keep their holiday budget under control. A third (33 percent) will take on extra shifts at work while 31 percent will start a second or part-time job.

Nearly half (49 percent) plan on purchasing gifts months in advance to spread out their spending.

Forty-five percent are buying items on sale or clearance to snag stellar deals while 40 percent clip coupons.

“The best way to avoid overspending on the holidays is to start saving in advance. But if you’ve passed that point for this year, consider other ways to be generous,” Garvey added. “One way to cut down on spending is to draw names from a hat and have each person give just one gift, rather than buying separate presents for everyone. Or offer to host and provide food as your gift, but not extra presents. A little creativity might be just as well appreciated and keep you from adding to your debt.”


  1. Take extra shifts at work 33%
  2. Open a store credit card 31%
  3. Taken second/part time job 31%
  4. Started a side hustle 29%
  5. More conscious of electric, heat, etc. 29%
  6. Opened a new credit card 29%
  7. Cut back on dining out 27%
  8. My partner and I did not buy gifts for other 27%
  9. Used public transportation 26%
  10. Skipped vacation that year 25%
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  1. Gifts 65%
  2. Food and drink 65%
  3. Entertainment 48%
  4. Clothing 47%
  5. Decorations 45%
  6. Charity 37%
  7. Travel 24%
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  1. Credit cards 50%
  2. Purchasing months in advance 49%
  3. Buying on sale/clearance 45%
  4. Coupons 40%
  5. Lay-away programs 36%
  6. Discount sites 28%
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  1. Food and drink 53%
  2. Gifts 48%
  3. Entertainment 43%
  4. Decorations 41%
  5. Clothing 38%
  6. Charitable 23%
  7. Travel 16%

>> Download the video and infographic for this research story <<

NOTE: All news copy and multimedia on this SWNS account is free to use as you see fit. Where research has been conducted, we ask that you credit the company which commissioned it.

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