smart spending

Folks feel frosty about holiday budgets

Exausted holiday shopper
Highlights
  • Holiday budgeting varies by income.
  • Men and women appear to view holiday budgets differently.
  • Age plays a role in holiday budgeting.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And he apparently doesn't have a holiday budget. Then again, he has a workshop, cheap-labor elves and a more or less guaranteed job.

Everyone else should keep a firm rein on their dear dollars during the holidays. But most people don't, a new Bankrate survey has found.

The Bankrate Financial Security Index found the overwhelming majority of Americans -- 66 percent -- don't have a holiday budget. Women were bad -- 63 percent don't have budgets. But budgeting faces tougher sledding with men. At 69 percent, they are even less likely to have a present budget.

The survey found that the likelihood of planning holiday spending varied among different demographic groups. But not by much. No matter how you slice the population, holiday budgeters are a ringing minority.

The age group most likely to have a budget is people 30-49, at 40 percent. The age group least likely to have a spending plan is over 65 -- 74 percent said ''bah humbug'' to the idea.

Budgeting appears to grow with income, but only to a point. Among families with incomes under $30,000, only 24 percent reported creating a holiday budget. Families with incomes over $75,000 were the most likely to have a holiday budget. But at 43 percent, they were still clearly in the minority.

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