Holiday ads are out, but shoppers aren't (yet)
Come December, credit card spending typically spikes to 40 percent above the monthly average. That's not necessarily bad, if you're financially ready.
This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site Credit.com.
Americans spend nearly 40 percent more on their credit cards in December than they do in an average month, according to the latest TransUnion Spend Vectors study. That’s a significant hike from November, in which spending levels are about 5 percent above average, even though huge deal days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday usually fall in November.
The study evaluated the credit files of about 2 million randomly sampled, anonymous consumers with active credit cards as of March 31, 2013. The data showed December brings the most credit card spending, but August -- with its popular back-to-school sales -- came in second, with consumers spending about 7 percent more than the annual monthly average.
Conversely, consumers largely pull back on credit card spending in late winter and early spring: Spending is 1.2 percent below average in January and a whopping 21.9 percent below average in February. Consumers spend significantly less in March, as well, spending 17 percent less than average.
The February and March cutbacks may result from a holiday credit hangover -- buying more than you can afford for the holidays and spending the first several months of the new year shoring up debts. It’s not surprising consumers have to balance out holiday spending, considering 20 percent of shoppers spend at least twice as much in December as they normally do. The median amount spent in December 2012 was just more than $600, up from about $575 in 2011.
But spending more in December isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As long as you can pay the bill, ideally in full, the amount isn’t the issue. It’s only when high spending leads to debt and delinquency that frequent credit card use becomes a problem. Shoppers should also mind their credit limits -- using a high percentage of available credit will hurt credit scores.
The holiday shopping season may already be under way, but it’s not too late to save up enough to cover that December credit card bill. Cutting back on flexible areas of the budget or finding extra sources of income will help make the holidays affordable, and making and keeping to a spending plan is an effective way to avoid overspending.
More from Credit.com:
- 4 holiday credit card strategies
- Why you need to save more for Christmas
- 4 ways to avoid the holiday credit hangover
It is way too early for Christmas shopping, did we forget Thanksgiving. That's right retailers did forget, they are opening on Thanksgiving, corporate greed. They don't care about people and families ,they just want their money. The corporate leaders will have their time off, with bonuses, to enjoy with their families. People need to stand up and not participate in the destruction of our holidays and family for the profit of retailers. People need to take the holiday and family back by not shopping to support this greedy trend. Everyone should stay at home with their families.
November JUST effing started. Give me a break.
Shoppers likely aren't out because of those ads.
We know what's coming.
We don't need chit forced upon us to remind us.
Consumers go at their own pace,regardless of what the stores want.
We really don't want to hear about it either. Seriously.
It's been made very clear by society that I will never make a lot of money because educating your children just isn't worth much to you. (Unlike the value reality TV stars and "celebrities" bring to our civilization.) My reason for existence is not to make sure rich CEO's and bloated businesses make a lot of money. My family, my friends, our health, our enjoyment of life, living within our means are what I care about - not businesses screeching at me that I'm a bad American for not buying XYZ.
They really think that every one will just throw money at them just because they say so.
Corporate Pigs are just that. PIGS!
The stores are lost this year, nobody has extra money. Started the last few years. Real christmas were left by the bunches in their lots.
Now with Obamacare facing everyone, everyone will have one eye on their wallets. No economy growth and none in the future kills this season before it starts.
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