Are Spending Limits the Secret to Happier Holidays?

Time To Read 2 MIN READ

Quicken survey reveals couples’ holiday spending trends in the U.S.

We know holiday spending is projected to increase this year. But how do couples across the US approach spending during the merriest season?

Quicken, maker of the best-selling personal finance software in the US, recently surveyed over 1,000 married adults to get a picture of their spending habits over the holidays -- and to find out if spending impacts their relationship happiness.

Do you spend what I spend?

The majority of couples (nearly 70% of those polled) say they agree on holiday spending levels. Some observations about those who set (or didn’t set) spending limits:

Spending limits and happiness go hand in hand:

  • People who discuss and agree on holiday spending report being happier with the amount their spouse spends on them. For those who agree on limits, 78% are happy with how much their spouse spends. That number drops when couples don’t agree on holiday spending limits; 63% of those who don’t set a limit say they’re happy with the amount spent on them.
  • People who did not set spending limits are twice as likely to wish their spouse had spent more on them (24%) vs. people who did (10%).
  • We also asked people to rate their relationship satisfaction on a scale of 1-100. Those who reported agreeing on holiday spending limits with their partner rated their relationship satisfaction 16% higher (75/100) than those who didn’t (62/100).

Agreeing to set limits is one thing -- telling the truth is another!

  • Nearly half (47%) of the people who said they set a limit have deceived their spouse about how much they spent on gifts. The vast majority of those white lies were told by people who spent more than the stated limit on a gift for their love: 81% said they overspent their limit for their spouse’s gift.

Putting the “me” in merry

‘Tis the season for spending -- not just on others. If you splashed out on something for yourself while you were shopping for others, don’t feel bad: nearly a third (28%) of people say they spend more on themselves during the holiday season than they do on their spouse.

Making a list and checking it twice may not be enough.

One in five (21%) people have forgotten completely to get a holiday gift for their spouse. Turns out, forgetting a gift takes a big toll on relationship satisfaction. Those who have forgotten a gift report a 18.5% dip in relationship satisfaction (62/100) from those who never have (76/100). So, this holiday season, consider talking to your spouse about holiday spending plans, checking your list twice, and perhaps grab a gift for yourself while you’re at it.