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Most Americans trying to stay within their means as they buy gifts this holiday season — CBS News poll

With many people across the countryconcerned about inflation, Americans say they’re spending within their means this holiday season. Very few are planning to go into debt to spend, and most are spending what they feel they can afford. And so, to keep spending in line, many won’t be buying more gifts than they have in previous years.

Just one in five say they’ll buy more gifts for others this holiday season, compared to recent past years, and this is true even among higher-income earners and those who say they can afford to live comfortably. In contrast, more than a third say they will buy fewer gifts. A plurality won’t change their gift-buying habits either way.

And they won’t be buying more things for themselves, either. Nearly half say they will be buying fewer gifts for themselves this season, as well as cutting back on other items. Similar percentages will be buying fewer airline and travel tickets, fewer entertainment tickets or events, and fewer food and drink items. Not surprisingly, this is particularly true of lower-income Americans and those struggling to make ends meet.

However, it may be a tale of extremes, depending on Americans’ financial situation.

For those struggling financially, many will forgo buying gifts entirely. Over four in 10 who say they can’t afford to make ends meet won’t be buying any gifts, a much larger percentage than those whose financial situation is better, those who can afford to save money or have a little left over for extras.


This CBS News/YouGov survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 2,182 U.S. adult residents interviewed between December 4-7, 2023. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, as well as past vote. The margin of error is ±2.8 points.

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