Two-Thirds of Younger Americans Worry That Holiday Purchases Will Derail Their Financial Goals

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Younger consumers fear too much holiday spending will set them back.

Key points

  • Overspending on the holidays can throw other financial goals off course.
  • A new survey reveals that this is a big concern among consumers aged 18 to 35.

It's no secret the holidays can be one of the most expensive times of the year -- if not the most expensive. Between travel, gifts, and home decor, it's easy to go overboard on spending during the holidays because there's so much pressure to do so.

But spending too much on the holidays can do more than just cause you near-term stress. It could also prevent you from meeting major financial goals.

That's the fear among two-thirds of Americans aged 18 to 35. In a recent Fidelity survey, that number of younger consumers admitted to being worried about holiday purchases throwing their financial goals off course. If you have similar concerns, here are three steps worth taking.

1. Set a strict budget

During the holidays, there are plenty of ways you could end up getting roped into spending more than what you're comfortable with. All it takes is for your child to see an expensive toy advertised, or for your parents to put the pressure on to book a flight home, and suddenly, you're dipping into your savings account to satisfy the people around you.

A better bet? Set a holiday budget and stick to it. Figure out how much you can afford to spend without any repercussions, and then order your holiday expenses by priority so you're able to make the most of the funds you have available. If gift-giving tops your list, buy all the presents you need and then see if there's enough money left over to host an elaborate meal or adorn your home with lights.

2. Boost your income with a side hustle

Giving your income a modest boost could make it so you're able to spend a bit more freely this holiday season. Thankfully, a lot of businesses need more help during the holidays, so you may be able to pick up some evening or weekend shifts at a local store or dining establishment.

Another option is to get a side hustle that's not seasonal, and that you do at your own pace, like driving for a ride-hailing service or doing marketing work online. Even if you don't have a lot of time to allocate to a second gig, that extra money could come in handy during the holidays and ease some of your financial concerns.

3. Write down your goals to keep yourself in check

It's easy to get caught up in the holidays and let your personal goals fall by the wayside. To avoid having that happen, write down your goals and post them all over your home -- in your office, on your fridge, and just about any place you might commonly look.

Seeing those goals written down will serve as a reminder that you should avoid the temptation to overspend in the coming weeks. For example, if you really want to buy a home in 2022 and need a few more thousand dollars to complete your down payment, plastering your living space with sticky notes containing the words "down payment" and "homeownership" could do the trick.

It's not surprising so many younger Americans are worried about the impact of holiday spending. But remember, there's a difference between spending some money on the holidays and spending too much. Stick to the former, and ideally, you'll manage to enjoy the season without worrying about how it will impact your finances after the fact.

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