Achieve Predicts Subdued Spending on Gifts, Travel for 2022 Holiday Season

Only 14% of American consumers say they set aside dedicated savings for holiday purchases.

November 14, 2022

San Mateo, Calif., Nov. 14, 2022 — Americans plan on taking a restrained approach to gift giving, travel and other spending this holiday season, a sentiment spurred by economic concerns about inflation, rising interest rates, layoffs and the threat of a looming recession, according to a new report by Achieve, the leader in digital personal finance.

The 2022 Season of Spending Report, published by the Achieve Center for Consumer Insights, found that 69% of U.S. adults plan on capping their gift-giving spend at $500 this year, while another 14% said they don’t plan on buying any gifts. The report also found that just 14% of Americans say they have separate savings for holiday expenses, while one in five consumers wish they made a dedicated savings plan for the holidays.

“While most Americans are making plans with limited travel this year, many still wish they did a better job preparing financially for the holiday season,” said Achieve Co-Founder and Co-CEO Brad Stroh. “The large gap in consumers who make dedicated holiday savings plans is especially concerning, given that household debt loads are at peak levels and on the rise.”

The data and findings in the 2022 Season of Spending Report are based on an online survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers age 18 to 65, including a statistically significant sample of Generation Z adults. The data is representative of Census Bureau benchmarks of the U.S. population for age, gender, race and ethnicity.

Staying Home for the Holidays

Nearly half of respondents plan on celebrating the holidays at home this year, while another 28% say they have no plans at all. Among those who will travel, most plan on staying in the U.S., typically to visit family. Respondents whose annual household income is over $100,000 are nearly three times as likely to take a domestic vacation this holiday season than those with incomes under $100,000. The report also found that feelings about gift giving vary by age, gender and relationship status.

  • Women were about twice as likely as men to say they put significant effort into picking out gifts.

  • Men were nearly three times more likely to say they enjoy giving tech gadgets than women.

  • Baby Boomers were most likely to say they don’t enjoy giving gifts, while Millennials and Gen Z were most likely to call themselves generous and thoughtful.

  • Married respondents were more likely to consider themselves last-minute shoppers than consumers who are single, engaged/living with a partner or divorced/widowed.

“Finances contribute significantly to holiday stress,” said Stroh. “But consumers who safeguard their budgets and focus on their priorities this season will make it through the holidays with less stress and potentially more money in their bank accounts.”

Consumers plan on using a combination of methods to pay for holiday spending on gifts, new outfits, food and entertainment. Most will rely on available funds accessed from their bank accounts, supplemented by spending on credit cards. Although overall use of paper checks is minimal, a surprising 9% of Millennials expect to use them, compared to just 4% in each of the Gen X and Baby Boomer generations. Other payment methods, like payday loans and money orders, play a much smaller role in most consumers’ holiday purchases.

  • While gift-giving may be subdued, 20% of respondents said they expect their credit card debt to increase by $1,000 or more during the holidays.

  • Gen Xers (5%) and Millennials (6%) expect that they’ll need the most help dealing with holiday debt. Separately, 65% of Baby Boomers — the largest share of any generation — believe they’ll keep their spending under control.

  • Among those who expect to rack up over $5,000 in holiday credit card debt, 17% believe they’ll need outside help addressing their debt. Conversely, just 2% of consumers who plan on adding less than $500 to their credit card balances believe they’ll need the same type of assistance.

Tips from Achieve: 5 Steps to Building a Holiday Budget

Many people resist making a budget because they think it only serves to restrict spending. Instead, treat your budget as a tool that helps guide spending on the things that are most important to you. Any good budget is built around setting priorities and making realistic goals.

  1. Determine the amount you can spend this year without incurring unnecessary debt.

  2. Carefully consider and list everything, and everyone, you expect to spend money on during the holiday season. Include gifts, greeting cards, decorations, holiday meals, and year-end tips for service providers. Lastly, don’t forget about any upcoming travel expenses, even if you’re only traveling across town to visit loved ones.

  3. Then start listing gift ideas and include prices. You may find you have to modify what gifts you want to buy to avoid going over your budget constraint.

  4. If the budget looks tight, but you do not want to take someone off your gift list, the gift of time can mean much more than a packaged gift.

  5. Remember what your holiday vision is, and that holidays really were never intended to create financial stress.

About the Achieve Center for Consumer Insights

The Achieve Center for Consumer Insights is an ongoing initiative that leverages Achieve’s team of digital personal finance experts to provide a view into the state of consumer finances. In addition to sharing insights gleaned from Achieve’s proprietary data and analytics, the Achieve Center for Consumer Insights publishes in-depth research, bespoke data and thoughtful commentary in support of Achieve’s mission of helping everyday people get on, and stay on, the path to a better financial future.

About Achieve

Achieve is the leader in digital personal finance. Our solutions help everyday people get on, and stay on, the path to a better financial future, with innovative technology and personalized support. By leveraging proprietary data and analytics, our solutions are tailored for each step of a consumer’s financial journey and include personal loans, home loans, help with debt and financial tools and education. Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Achieve has more than 2,700 dedicated employees across the country with hubs in California, Arizona and Texas and has regularly been recognized as a Best Place to Work.


Achieve and its affiliates are subsidiaries of Freedom Financial Network Funding, LLC, including, LLC d/b/a (NMLS ID #138464) Equal Housing Lender; Freedom Financial Asset Management, LLC (NMLS ID #227977); Freedom Resolution (NMLS ID #1248929); and Lendage, LLC d/b/a Achieve Loans (NMLS ID #1810501), Equal Housing Lender.


Erica Bigley

VP, Corporate Communications

[email protected]



Austin Kilgore

Director, Corporate Communications

[email protected]


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