Some Still Paying Off 2011 Holiday Debt

Instead of “self-gifting,” many holiday shoppers might want to pay down debt.

More than one in 10 people who used credit cards to make holiday purchases last year are still paying off the debt, according to Consumer Reports

Since the economy tanked in 2008, half of those surveyed said they’re spending less than they did before the recession. Forty-seven percent have economized by buying cheaper gifts; 36 are purchasing fewer presents. Six percent have replaced store-bought items with handmade ones to save money. For the upcoming season, 37 percent of respondents said they intend to spend less than they did in 2011 (only 12 percent indicated they’ll spend more).

Budgeting will play a big role this year, too. Fifty-two percent plan to make a holiday spending budget. Hopefully, they’ll do a better job living within it. In 2011, one-third of the 41 percent who set a budget exceeded their spending limit; four percent went way over budget.

One problem that hasn’t disappeared is holiday debt. Half of shoppers charged gift purchases last year and 13 percent are still paying off credit card debt from those purchases.

The survey included 1,557 people.

Stacy Johnson

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