Nearly a third of Americans working overtime to afford holiday costs: survey

Nearly 1 in 3 Americans are putting in extra hours or taking on a side gig this holiday season

A vast majority of Americans say high prices are impacting their spending habits this holiday season, and nearly one in three are putting in overtime to cover the added expenses, according to recent data.

Empower's 2023 holiday spending report, which surveyed over 1,000 Americans, found 74% say inflation is influencing their holiday spending this year, and 31% are working extra hours or taking on a side gig to afford their purchases.

businesswoman in office late at night

Nearly one in three Americans say they are either putting in extra hours at work or taking on a side hustle to afford holiday spending this year. (iStock / iStock)

The financial services company found more than three in 10 surveyed are cutting back on holiday traditions this year to save money, and over half are skipping travel this season, with 46% opting to do so to trim costs.

"The survey shows that over a third (34%) are trimming their budgets in favor of saving this year, while others are cutting back on buying gifts or non-essential expenses like dining out to stay on track," Courtney Burrell, financial professional with Empower, told FOX Business.

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"How you allocate your holiday budget will depend on what’s most important to you – this year, you may prioritize travel to visit family that you typically only see during the holidays over decorations or cut back on social commitments in order to give yourself a larger budget for holiday gifts," Burrell said.

shoppers in santa hats

Shoppers at the Polaris Fashion Place mall on Black Friday in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. A record number of Americans shopped over the holiday shopping season kickoff. (Matthew Hatcher/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they plan to spend less than $250 on gifts this year, and more than one in 10 told Empower they are budgeting more than $1,000.

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While Americans might be feeling financial stress this holiday season, it has not stopped them from opening their wallets. A record-breaking number of Americans went shopping over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Holiday spending this season is expected to smash records.

An individual using a credit card reader

Inflation may be pressuring Americans this holiday season, but that has not stopped consumers from spending. (Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images / Getty Images)

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However, the spending spree comes as U.S. consumers are already carrying record levels of credit card debt, and some experts are concerned a potential crisis is brewing as the balances rack up and more people find themselves unable to pay them back – especially at today's high interest rates.

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