11:49 AM

TransUnion Study Finds More Than Half of Americans Do Not Save for Holiday Shopping Season

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Oct 1, 2013) -  For many Americans, back-to-school season and the start of football is top of mind, but for nearly all Americans who give gifts during the holidays, this should also be a time to start thinking about saving money now. Unfortunately, according to a new survey commissioned by TransUnion, more than half (64.3 percent) of Americans surveyed say they will go into the holiday shopping season having not saved money for it, which could lead to starting 2014 with a major debt hangover and potentially harming their credit health.

A recent Google Consumer Survey conducted by TransUnion revealed that 64.3 percent of Americans surveyed say they will not save in advance of holiday shopping and an additional 14.6 percent of those surveyed said they will only save in October, November and December. For many, this may mean using current credit cards, opening new lines of credit or taking on extra debt. Excessive inquiries for new lines of credit, higher balances compared to credit limits and large amounts of debt can all be harmful to a consumer's credit health.

"Consumers should plan ahead now by making a list of those they plan to purchase gifts for; determining the total they will need to save between now and the holiday season; and setting a portion aside out of each paycheck," said Julie Springer, vice president at TransUnion. "That way, when the holidays arrive, consumers can use their saved money, enjoy a more relaxed holiday season -- and enter 2014 without the burden of unmanageable credit card debt."

TransUnion provides the following tips to help consumers save now and spend later during the holiday shopping season:

  • Make a List and Check it Twice: Make a list of those individuals that you plan to buy holiday gifts for this year, along with a dollar amount you plan to spend or the item you plan to purchase. Stick to this list when it comes time to buy holiday gifts to avoid overspending.

  • Budget and Save: Review your list and calculate how much you plan to spend on holiday gifts this year. Divide that total you plan to spend by the number of paychecks you will receive between now and when the holiday shopping season begins. For example, if you plan to spend $600 on holiday gifts this year and will receive six paychecks between now and Thanksgiving, then you should try to set aside $100 from each paycheck to spend on holiday gifts.

  • Shop Now, Gift Later: Regularly check your local advertisements and circulars and if an item you plan to purchase for holiday gifting goes on sale, consider using some of the saved money to purchase it now and save it for the holiday season. By finding the item on sale now, you can save even more money on your holiday shopping.

  • Save for Yourself: Remember, not only does saving for the holiday shopping season help alleviate stress, but if possible, you should also save a portion of each paycheck to pay for any unexpected financial crises, such as a health emergencies, etc.

For more ways to stay on top of your finances and tips to smart holiday shopping, visit www.TransUnion.com or follow TransUnion on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TransUnion.

About TransUnion

TransUnion Interactive, Inc. is a consumer subsidiary of TransUnion. As a global leader in credit and information management, TransUnion creates advantages for millions of people around the world by gathering, analyzing and delivering information. For businesses, TransUnion helps improve efficiency, manage risk, reduce costs and increase revenue by delivering comprehensive data and advanced analytics and decisioning. For consumers, TransUnion provides the tools, resources and education to help manage their credit health and achieve their financial goals. Through these and other efforts, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies worldwide. Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Chicago, TransUnion employs associates in more than 33 countries on five continents. www.transunion.com. Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TransUnion.