Shopoholics have problems beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Dr. Ramani Durvasula (“Dr. Ramani”) is a licensed clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles. Ramani is also co-host of “My Shopping Addiction” on the Oxygen network, Mondays at 11 p.m.
She explains how to get spending under control:
Examining America’s Holiday Spending Habits
Three-quarters (73 percent) of Americans spend more during the holiday season than at any other time of the year including vacations, birthdays, and Valentine’s Day. Following are some of the holiday shopping habits of adults that were revealed:
· 81 percent feel obligated to give gifts to those who give to them.
· 54 percent spend at least $500 or more.
· 25 percent spend at least $1,000 or more.
· 19 percent are willing to spend twice the retail price to buy “hard to find” items.
· On average, Americans spend almost twice as much on gifts for a significant other ($323) compared to anyone else including parents ($152), children ($172), and close friends ($58).
Differences Between Men and Women
Oxygen’s study reveals the different holiday shopping habits between women and men, including the following:
· Women spend more on holiday gifts for children ($181 vs. $162), close friends ($59 vs. $57), co-workers ($25 vs. $21), and service people ($20 vs. $17).
· Men spend more on holiday gifts for a significant other ($381 vs. $265) and parents ($161 vs. $144).
· Men prefer to buy things for themselves rather than other people (67 percent vs. 51 percent).
· Women are more likely to buy holiday gifts on sale (80 percent vs. 69 percent).
Spending Habits of Young Women (ages 18—34)
When examining the spending habits of women ages 18—34, the poll revealed younger women plan less and give less practical gifts during the holiday season compared to older women ages 35—49:
· Young women are less likely to buy gifts that are on sale compared to older women (76 percent vs. 84 percent).
· 75 percent of young women tend to give gifts that aren’t practical (vs. 66% among older women).
· 47 percent of young women leave their holiday shopping to the last minute (vs. 37% among older women).
Thinking Outside the Box
Most Americans think non-traditional holiday gifts are okay:
· 86 percent of Americans think it’s okay to give non-traditional gifts during the holidays.
· Gift certificates top the list of “alternative gifts,” especially for close friends (59 percent) and employees (54 percent).
· Something personally made by hand is the top alternative gift for parents (68 percent) and a significant other (66 percent).
· Something personally baked is seen as a great gift for co-workers (64 percent) and even close friends (52 percent).
· Cash (56 percent) and gift certificates (51 percent) are considered the best substitutes for store-bought presents for children.
· Almost all adults (95 percent) would not end a friendship over an inappropriate or cheap gift or no gift at all.
Top Five Tips to Avoid Debt During the Holidays
· Take your time and plan ahead. Feeling rushed at the end of the holiday season can make you rush, overspend, and make poor choices. Make a list of everyone ahead of time so you know what you are dealing with and whom you are buying for, and you aren’t just randomly grabbing things when you are in the store.
· Make a budget, and stick to that budget by either bringing a prepaid debit or gift card to the store or just bringing the cash you can spend. Without the credit cards, you can’t start spending blindly.
· Holiday shop at times when you do not feel depleted. If you are at your best in the morning, then go in the morning. If you feel depleted, you are more likely to make impulse grabs and get sloppy.
· If being in the store leads you to make more of the impulse grab-and-go purchases, then don’t do it. Use online shopping or some other means of shopping that helps manage those temptations.
· Think of new ways of gift giving. If you have a large family, do a gift exchange so you aren’t blowing the bank on lots of junky cheap gifts, and instead draw names and be able to focus on buying for fewer people. In a family, perhaps the entire gift budget could be used to purchase a trip that you take together or tickets to something you all want to see.
Source: Provided by Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a licensed psychologist and addiction expert featured on Oxygen’s “My Shopping Addiction.”