A vast majority of Americans plan on using cash during the holidays shopping season, refusing to add to their credit card debt.
Seven in 10 Americans said they will use either cash (39 percent) or a debit card (31 percent) for most of their holiday purchases, according to the latest Bankrate Money Pulse survey.
Only 22 percent say they will put the bulk of their holiday spending on credit cards,
The preferred cash option may be a sign of an improved economy. Shoppers this year will spend an average of $805.65 on gifts, decorations, food and other holiday-related purchases, says a survey for the National Retail Federation, a trade group in Washington, D.C.
“Paying with cash or debit means people definitely have changed their priorities,” says Ronit Rogoszinski, wealth advisor at Arch Financial Group on New York’s Long Island. “They’re going to buy what they can afford and no more. That’s very good,”
But higher incomes don’t necessarily translate into the option of making cash purchases. High earners are more likely to use credit cards for most of their holiday purchases, the Bankrate survey found.
Americans with household incomes of less than $30,000 were most likely to say they will use cash for most purchases (53 percent), while 21 percent of those with household incomes greater than $75,000 say cash will be a first option.
However, this is not the case for millennials (18- to 29-year-olds). Just 14 percent say credit cards will be their No. 1 choice.