Myvesta, a nonprofit debt and financial management company, estimates Americans will spend $722 gift-shopping this year, and estimates that the average credit card debt has jumped 35 percent this year, to $3,250 per person on an average of 2.5 credit cards.
A survey by the International Mass Retail Association pegs average holiday spending at $863, about the same as last year.
But an American Express Retail Index telephone survey found consumers plan to spend as much as $1,755.
The temptation to overspend is hard to resist: IMRA estimates that U.S. consumers typically overspend their holiday budgets by 15 percent to 30 percent.
At the same time, more than half of shoppers plan to use a credit card for holiday purchases this year, according to a survey by the Consumer Federation of America and the Credit Union National Association.
And about 60 percent of card holders don't pay off their balances in full when the bill comes, according to CardWeb.com, a Maryland firm that tracks the payment-card industry.
Arizona Daily Star
Holiday buying presents debt trap
Myvesta, Mass Retail Association, American Express, IMRA, Consumer Federation of America, Credit Union National Association, Cardweb.com