25% of Americans are still paying off holiday debt from last year

Nearly 1 in 4 Americans are still paying off holiday debt from 2022, and more than 1 in 3 aren’t buying any gifts at all this year due to inflation, according to a recent WalletHub survey.  

About 20% of Americans will apply for a new credit card to help with the financial burden of holiday shopping this year, adding to an already record-high year of credit card debt in the U.S. that surpassed the $1 trillion mark in August. 

Bankrate also found 25% of households with less than $50,000 in annual income don’t plan to do any holiday shopping this year, while WalletHub said half of the people they surveyed said Santa will be less generous this year due to inflation. 

One reason shoppers may not want to rack up more debt this holiday season is the average credit card interest rate has risen to nearly 21%, according to Bankrate’s latest report. Higher interest rates mean it could take longer to pay down your credit card debt. 

Bankrate offered a couple of helpful tips for dealing with holiday shopping’s stress on the wallet. 

Stick to your budget and look for discounts: Creating and abiding by a holiday budget helps keep you from going into debt. Starting your holiday budget early in the year will help you conserve money toward a holiday fund. 

Ditch the last-minute stress: The holidays are an anxious time for many people, so getting shopping out of the way can help prevent impulse decisions. 

Consider homemade gifts or experiences: 15% of holiday shoppers are planning to make gifts or crafts this year, according to Bankrate’s survey. You can also start a holiday tradition that you or your loved ones can enjoy each year and it will likely cost nothing but time.