Since we are now in complete holiday mode, we’re about due for a roundup of how the season is affecting your wallet.

For starters, some nice news: Stress is down this year, as many Americans planned to set a budget for their gift-giving. Financial solutions company Principal says 53 percent of Americans are setting a budget this year, up two percentage points from last year. The more disciplined you are with how you spend your money, the happier you will be.

And Americans are so happy with saving their money that they plan to give it away anyway. Principal says that 63 percent of Americans are going to donate money this year, up from 56 percent in 2016. One in four plan to volunteer this season, too.

Here’s what else is going on…

Regrets revealed: Americans share their biggest financial setbacks this season

While we might be trying to be smarter with our money, it’s probably because we’ve made some bad financial decisions this year. The same Principal survey says that the biggest money mistakes we made this year was not saving enough (17 percent said this was their top issue), racking up more credit card debt (11 percent), and accumulating more debt overall (10 percent). Food accounted for the biggest “budget-busters”: 26 percent of Americans say dining out was the culprit, while groceries was another 21 percent.

Like Principal says, credit card debt is among one of the biggest money woes Americans faced this year. A survey from TD Ameritrade backs up that figure, noting that 8 percent of Americans say going into credit card debt was their number 1 financial stressor this year. Almost 20 percent of Americans say overspending on gifts was their top source of stress.

TD Ameritrade also says that the top three financial regrets of the year are:

  • Spending beyond their means (7 percent)
  • Not saving for retirement (7 percent)
  • Going into credit card debt (6 percent)

The good news is that nearly half of those surveyed — 46 percent — are making financial resolutions to boost their retirement savings next year, which we know need all the help they can get.

Buckle up: we’re hitting the road this holiday season

Wherever you’re going this year, you’re getting there by driving.

Nearly 100 million people will travel somewhere this holiday season, Generali Global Assistance says. The travel insurance company notes that 40 percent of Americans will stay within 100 miles of home. Millennials are the biggest age group that’s traveling this year (48 percent).

Hankook Tire says 84 percent of Americans that are traveling this year are hitting the roads, not the skies. While cheaper for families — who is going to drag their entire brood on a plane? — car maintenance is still a priority. Almost half of those surveyed by Hankook say they would like new tires as gifts this year.

Tech gifts = tech support

If you’re planning on giving the gift of a tech gift this year, first of all: that’s so thoughtful of you! Secondly, be sure to carve out time in your schedule to show your loved one how that gift actually works.

Technology solutions company Asurion says 60 percent of adults are giving techie gifts this year, and 70 percent say they’ve helped friends and family as their personal IT department in the past. It’s higher among millennials and Gen Xers.

“Remember the days when getting your holiday gifts up and running meant putting in some batteries?” says Barry Vandevier, Asurion president of operations. “Today it’s rarely that simple. Tech gifts can become a burden for people who struggle to set them up, connect them to other devices, and keep them running smoothly.”

While phones and laptops require a lot of help, home assistants, like Google Home and Amazon Echo, are becoming more popular to gift. They sound like a great present, but if the recipient isn’t familiar with how to work it, the gifter is now the installer and teacher of how to use these new and fancy devices.

Bring on the three-day weekend: holidays landing at the beginning of weeks this year

Employers are feeling extra spirit-filled this year. Most people will get Monday, Dec 25 and Monday, Jan. 1 off from work, extending two weekends in a row, where nearly half of Americans will get the day off with pay, according to Bloomberg BNA. More than one-third of companies will pay their employees for the day after Christmas as well.

But not everyone has the gift of time off from their jobs: 34 percent of companies will have some employers who are working on either or both holidays. Luckily, workers will get compensated for their time through double pay, time-and-a-half, or comp time. Holidays are stressful, especially when it comes to working. Some states have more holiday stress than others, though.

Bloomberg BNA says that companies are also celebrating their employees with year-end holiday parties and bonuses. At least 10 percent of employees will get gifts while 30 percent will get bonuses. Three-in-four companies will host parties and the same amount will be pouring alcohol. Let’s just hope the bosses behave themselves this year.

New season, new attractions

And no, we don’t mean theme park attractions. We mean physical attractions. A Braun study found that when the season changes, so does facial hair. The men’s grooming company polled women and found that 41 percent of them had men in their lives that completely changed their facial hair during the holiday season. More than one-third of dudes grow out full beards.

The study notes that nearly half of all women find messy facial hair the most unattractive physical attribute on potential partners.

And partners change just like the season does. Just as men are more likely to grow out a beard, they’re also more likely to be attracted to a plus-size woman. Dating app WooPlus says there’s a 30 percent surge in male subscribers in November, proving that “winter dating” is a thing.

“Seasonal Dating Disorder seems to be another obstacle plus-sized ladies must deal with in today’s relationship environment,” says WooPlus co-founder Michelle Li. “Sadly, at this festive time of year, we feel it necessary to put out a warning.”

The app is designated for plus-size singles to feel comfortable about finding potential partners, and Seasonal Dating Disorder can hurt these matches. SDD is when relationships start during the colder months, only to end when Spring arrives. It disproportionately affects women more than men.

WooPlus warns women to be cautious of starting relationships during the holiday season and winter months, as it can lead to a painful ending.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn

Writer

Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Career and Business, Credit & Debt, Family, Home, News, Tech

credit card debt, save money, winter holidays

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Article last modified on December 18, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Holiday Bonuses: From Your Work to Your Wallet - AMP.