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• Nov 27, 2018

This holiday season, millennials (ages 20-37) are most likely to create a spending plan, stick to it (76 percent) and pay off balances in full before the New Year (49 percent) – according to TD Bank's Merry Money Holiday Spending Survey.

TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, polled 1,000 U.S. consumers to better understand spending habits and money management around the holiday shopping season. The survey found that even though more than half of consumers (66 percent) typically create a holiday budget, 72 percent admit to overspending.

Does This Jingle a Bell?

Nearly seven in ten (68 percent) of those who overspend blow their budget by as much as $300 during the seasonal shopping rush, with 63 percent blaming their surplus spending on impulse purchases. And some are starting the new year off with debit: of those who use credit cards to do their shopping, less than half (45 percent) pay their balance off by January.

"It's always important to understand your budget – especially during this time of year, when it's so easy to overspend," said Jason Thacker, Head of U.S. Consumer Deposits and Payments at TD Bank. "Remember the financial cost of the gift isn't representative of the memory you'll create or the sentiment behind it, so try to resist the urge to break your budget over those unplanned impulse purchases."

Millennials Focus on Sleighing Debt

FOMO may be influencing millennial purchases of the coolest brands, experiences and trending gifts, as most millennials (63 percent) admit to overspending on family and friends. Three out of four millennials (75 percent) admit to overspending during holidays past, more than any other generation.

Spectrum of millennial overspending:

  • 67 percent estimate they overspent by less than $300
  • 25 percent estimate they overspent between $300 - $750
  • 5 percent estimate they overspent over a whopping $750

However, millennials show more focus on managing debt and are more likely than their parents’ and grandparents’ generations to create a holiday budget (74 percent), stick to it (76 percent) and pay debts off in full (49 percent).

“Many millennials came into adulthood with high student loan debt, making them wearier of spending money they don't have and giving them more incentive to make budgets in the first place.” said Lauren Greutman, a savings expert and founder of the personal finance site who reviewed the survey data.

The Gifts That Keep on Giving

While some grandparents appreciate homemade gifts, 43 percent of respondents in the 65+ age category put gift cards at the top of their most-wanted holiday gift list. They're not alone: almost half (49 percent) of all Americans would prefer gift cards or cash to get something they really want, especially millennials (57 percent).

When it comes to regifting, GenXers (ages 38-53) take the (fruit)cake, with half admitting to the practice. However, all generations wish to minimize the chances of an unwanted gift, and more than half of shoppers (51 percent) give gift cards as presents. More than three out of four respondents (76 percent) reveal they give gift cards because it's an easy and convenient way to give people something they really want or need.


TD Bank's Merry Money Holiday Spending Survey uncovers how Americans budget and spend around the holiday season.

Survey Methodology

This report presents the findings of a survey conducted among a sample of 1,003 adults comprising 501 men and 502 women 18 years of age and older. The online omnibus study is conducted twice a week among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,000 adults 18 years of age and older. This survey was live on October 4-7, 2018. Completed interviews are weighted by five variables: age, sex, geographic region, race and education to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population, 18 years of age and older. The raw data are weighted by a custom designed program which automatically develops a weighting factor for each respondent. Each respondent is assigned a single weight derived from the relationship between the actual proportion of the population based on US Census data with its specific combination of age, sex, geographic characteristics, race and education and the proportion in the sample. Tabular results show both weighted and unweighted bases.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. The data have been weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the 18+ population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.

About ORC International ORC International is a collaborative and consultative research partner to hundreds of organizations around the globe. We possess a wide variety of resources, tools and technologies to collect and analyze information for our clients. As a founding member of the Code of Standards of the Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO) and a member of the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR), we adhere to a rigorous Code of Standards and Ethics for Survey Research. ORC International is ISO 20252 certified. To achieve certification, ORC International passed a comprehensive, on-site audit. The certification establishes globally recognized terms, definitions, and service requirements for project management in research organizations. Processes outlined in ISO 20252 are designed to produce transparent, consistent, well documented and error-free methods of conducting and managing research projects. Adherence and certification to such standards provides a basis of confidence for clients and other constituencies that the work produced is being executed with quality processes and controls in place. The internationally recognized standard also provides a basis for subcontractor evaluation.

About TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®:

TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 9 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,200 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit Find TD Bank on Facebook at and on Twitter at

TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol "TD". To learn more, visit

Media Contact:

Lisa Sawicki, Vice President, Consumer Distribution and Product Communications
TD Bank

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