After way too many reports of people spending sensibly and responsibly this holiday period, it's nice to know that when it comes to New Year's, many plan to put on the dog.
A new survey from American Express reports that many people will reward themselves for paring back on gifts with what it calls "party driven" spending. Some 69% plan to celebrate with friends or family, and 45% plan to attend parties. And 90% plan to make purchases for the occasion.
Affluent people will spend $750, for example, and young professionals $470, on food, spirits and other festivities. Some 44% of young professionals plan to buy a new outfit to wear to a holiday party, and 24% of affluents and 31% of young professionals say they plan to get either their nails or hair done. Among partygoers, 68% say they will spring for a hostess present, spending an average of $35.
The American Express survey, which included just over 2,000 adults, also finds that people are somewhat more behind on their shopping than usual, with 66% saying they haven't finished yet, and 21% planning to continue their shopping right through the week before Christmas.
Of those, 31% are doing so in order to find better deals, 19% are still saving, 18% are just time-strapped, 11% are planning to use their last paycheck before Christmas, and an impressive 10% are waiting for Christmas to pass by entirely, so they can make out on post-holiday sales.
All that emphasis on cash flow is driving home another big change in shopper behavior this year: A new study from LowerMyBills.com reports that consumers are determined not to use plastic to pay for holiday spending.
The survey of 2,800 adults finds that 55% are proactively seeking ways to avoid new holiday credit card debt. Only 21% expect to have credit card debt for this holiday season, down from 26% last year. And even those people are committed to digging out of the hole faster: 24% say they plan to pay it off in one to two months. Last year, just 18% of those with debt planned to do so.