From parents' guiltiest holiday shopping secrets to what they really want for the holidays, Sallie Mae talked to 500 parents about how they spend during the holidays.
1. Guiltiest Holiday Shopping Secret
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Almost half of the parents surveyed said that their guiltiest holiday shopping secret was that they spent on themselves while shopping for others. Women were more likely to do this with 48% responding that they spend on themselves, compared to 39% of men.
Another guilty shopping secret was that a quarter of parents saved their holiday shopping until the night before. 31% of men responded that they engage in this behavior, compared to 18% of women that responded.
2. Kids Should Receive Money For College Instead of Physical Gifts
Over half of those surveyed (67.8%) said that they prefer their child receive money towards college instead of a physical gift. Millennial parents and those living in cities were the most likely to respond that they prefer monetary gifts for their children for college.
3. Quality Time With Kids is Most Desired
Almost half of parents surveyed (42.7%) said the gift they want most from their child is a day without distractions from them. Moms were more likely than Dads to want a day free of distractions from the kids.
For the wealthy, parents were more likely to respond that another gift they wanted from their kids was for them to receive straight A's on their report card.
4. How to Budget with Friends and Family
Over half of those surveyed said that they do not agree on a holiday spending budget with family and friends. Close to a quarter of respondents said that they do set a budget, but intend to go over it.
People living in the South were the most likely to determine a budget, while residents from the Northeast likely did not have a budget.
5. Running Up the Credit Limit During Holiday Shopping
More than half of the survey respondents said that they plan to use zero to a quarter of their credit card limit this holiday season. Just 18% of parents plan to go over a quarter of their credit card limit and approximately 20% of parents don't use their credit cards at all for shopping.