Post-Vacation Money Blues: Those Beachside Splurges May Be More Costly Than You Think

Nearly half of Americans spend beyond their means on vacation — and suffer guilt, stress, and financial consequences because of it.

Everyone knows the feeling: It’s your first day back after a relaxing vacation and you just can’t deal. All the worries you left behind are there waiting for you, but sometimes there are new ones, too — money woes.

We surveyed 7,480 American adults and found that a shocking percentage (43%) admitted to spending beyond their means on vacation. And many came home to a rude awakening because of it:

  • 27% suffered financial consequences that included excessive credit card debt, missed payments, or being forced to borrow money from family or friends.
  • 49% reported spending-related guilt.
  • 46% experienced stress from their spending, with more than half (55%) of those losing sleep because of it.

The state where residents ranked worst for managing money while on vacation? New Mexico, which also holds one of the highest percentages of credit card debt in the country. At the top for guilt was West Virginia, and Utah ranked No. 1 for post-vacation money stress.

Surprisingly, the states where residents had poor money management habits weren’t necessarily the ones where they had the highest levels of stress and guilt. In fact, New Mexico ranked No. 1 (followed by New Jersey and New York) for poor money management but relatively little guilt. At the other end of the spectrum was Iowa (followed by Oregon and Nebraska), where residents had good vacation money management but still felt guilty about their spending.

Money Blues: Which States Feel Most Guilty About Vacation Splurges?

Post-vacation money blues

Excessive Vacation Spending

According to our survey, almost half of Americans spend more on vacation than they should.

  • 43% of respondents admitted to taking a vacation they couldn’t afford within the past five years.
  • 43% said they typically spend outside their means on vacation.
  • 59% of respondents indicated that a “vacation mentality” causes them to make poor spending decisions.

To pay for out-of-budget trips, many respondents in our survey said they rely on credit cards or loans — 42% said they’ve used one or the other to help fund a vacation they couldn’t afford otherwise.

Financial Consequences

While vacation purchases may feel innocent at the time, breaking budget can cause serious money troubles. Twenty-seven percent of respondents in our survey said a vacation splurge in the past five years had led to negative financial consequences. The most common problem they encountered was high levels of credit card debt.

  • 49% of respondents reporting financial consequences took on excessive credit card debt.
  • 34% missed important payments.
  • 16% took out a loan.
  • 35% borrowed money from friends or family.

Stress and Guilt

In addition to a financial toll, overspending can have a psychological impact, too. About half of survey respondents reported experiencing guilt or stress from their vacation splurges within the past five years.

  • 49% said they have felt guilty about vacation spending.
  • 46% said they have suffered stress from overspending on vacation.
  • Of those who have suffered stress, 55% said they’ve lost sleep because of it.

Of those who experienced guilt, 83% said it primarily set in after vacation — not when they were spending.

  • 49% of respondents reporting guilt said it typically set in once they returned home.
  • 34% of respondents reporting guilt said they usually felt most guilty once they saw their credit card statements or checked their bank account.

In Which States Are Residents Best at Managing Money on Vacation?

Overall, our survey revealed a nationwide trend of risky vacation spending. However, residents in some states practice better vacation spending habits than others: they were less likely to take vacations they knew they couldn’t afford, experience financial consequences because of their vacation spending, or use credit cards or loans to pay for out-of-budget trips.

States Where Residents Are Best at Managing Money on Vacation

  1. New Hampshire
  2. Wisconsin
  3. Connecticut
  4. Louisiana
  5. Vermont
  6. Idaho
  7. North Dakota
  8. Alaska
  9. Minnesota
  10. Iowa

States Where Residents Are Worst at Managing Money on Vacation

  1. New Mexico
  2. Maryland
  3. New Jersey
  4. Kentucky
  5. West Virginia
  6. New York
  7. Nevada
  8. Arizona
  9. Florida
  10. Arkansas

States Where Residents Feel Most Guilty About Vacation Spending

Guilt was a common emotional consequence of vacation overspending. West Virginia came in at No. 1 for states with the highest levels of post-vacation spending guilt, and Louisiana was No. 1 for low-guilt spending.

States With the Highest Levels of Guilt

  1. West Virginia
  2. Utah
  3. California
  4. Oregon
  5. Iowa
  6. South Carolina
  7. Nebraska
  8. Nevada
  9. Missouri
  10. Indiana

States With the Lowest Levels of Guilt

  1. Louisiana
  2. Connecticut
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Colorado
  7. Ohio
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Alabama
  10. Michigan

States Where Residents Report the Most Stress About Their Vacation Spending

The top 10 states where residents reported spending-related post-vacation stress were led by Utah while those with the lowest levels of stress were led by Ohio.

States With the Highest Levels of Stress

  1. Utah
  2. West Virginia
  3. Wyoming
  4. Montana
  5. New York
  6. California
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Arkansas
  9. New Jersey
  10. Kansas

States With the Lowest Levels of Stress

  1. Ohio
  2. Louisiana
  3. Alabama
  4. Michigan
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Texas
  7. Mississippi
  8. South Dakota
  9. North Carolina
  10. Nebraska

States Where Residents Are Too Hard on Themselves — Or Not Hard Enough

One interesting finding from our survey is that the states where residents were most likely to overspend were not necessarily the states with the highest levels of spending guilt. And the reverse of this is true, too — some states spent responsibly but nonetheless had high levels of guilt.

Iowa led the country for states where residents had relatively good vacation money management and disproportionately high levels of guilt. New Mexico led the country for poor spending but low levels of guilt.

States That Are Too Hard on Themselves

  1. Iowa
  2. Oregon
  3. Nebraska
  4. Alaska
  5. California
  6. North Dakota
  7. South Carolina
  8. Vermont
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Missouri

States That Are Too Easy on Themselves

  1. New Mexico
  2. New Jersey
  3. New York
  4. Maryland
  5. Ohio
  6. Texas
  7. Rhode Island
  8. Louisiana
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Florida

How to Bounce Back After Vacation Spending

For vacation-goers who overspend while away, the flood of bills and a depleted bank account can be a harsh welcome home. But there are ways to get back on track. We asked Len Hayduchok, founder and president of Dedicated Financial Services, for his best advice. Here’s what he recommends.

1. Go on a spending ‘fast.’ To get your budget back on track, cut your spending to the essentials. Separate ‘need’ expenses (rent, utilities) from ‘want’ expenses (lattes, eating out). Do this for a week and see how much you save. Rinse and repeat as needed.

2. Break it down. Change large annual payments on life or auto insurance to bite-size monthly installments. Keep in mind that the additional cost for spreading out the payments should be less than the monthly finance charges on the credit cards.

3. Put the piggy bank on a diet. Especially if credit card interests are high, temporarily put savings strategies on hold. Even contributions to 401(k) plans should be limited unless matched by an employer. Feel free to pork up the bank again once credit card balances are back under control.

4. Channel your inner minimalist. Take some time to look through your closet for those items that haven’t seen the sun in a few years. Make some quick cash by bringing them to a consignment store, co-hosting a garage sale with some friends, or selling them online!

5. Think outside the wallet. In addition to reducing your spending and boosting income, find potential borrowing sources (if you must) such as 401(k) plans or life insurance policies as a temporary financial buffer. Caveat: Make sure you pay those loans back as soon as possible!

Len HayduchokLen Hayduchok is a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner with over 25 years of experience. A graduate of the Wharton School and a Master of Divinity recipient, he is the founder and president of Dedicated Financial Services. His firm advises clients on taxes, income, retirement, estate planning, and asset management and protection. He and his wife live in Princeton Junction, New Jersey, and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and are the parents of four adult children.

How to Relieve Post-Vacation Stress and Guilt

According to our survey, about half of Americans have recently suffered post-vacation guilt or stress from their spending. How can they beat their blues? Here are five tips from Raffi Bilek, director of the Baltimore Therapy Center.

1. Harness the guilt. It’s normal to feel guilty after overspending. Use the discomfort to motivate yourself. Sit down and create a budget. Call up a financial coach and request an appointment. Make a change, no matter how small. Harness your feelings and turn them into action.

2. Engage in self-care. Life is stressful enough, even before you upped your budget problem. Take care of yourself by engaging in the things that help you keep an even keel — whether it’s yoga or painting, mountain biking or meditating. Everyone needs to manage their stress. This is all the more important when your stress is on the rise.

3. Allow for imperfection. Everyone makes mistakes. Remember that even your friends who look like they have it all together on Facebook sometimes mess up — they just tend not to post those moments. You shouldn’t ignore problems, financial or otherwise, but you also shouldn’t allow them to consume you. You’re human. It’s OK.

4. Get some perspective. How bad is it really? What are the ramifications of your overspending? Going over budget by $100 is different from going over by $1,000, and it certainly depends on your individual financial situation. Don’t assume the worst — crunch the numbers and see whether you’re actually in hot water or you just dipped your toe in it.

5. Start saving up again. There’s a Japanese proverb that says, “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” If you’ve overspent your budget, the time to start saving back up is now. Skip the Starbucks today and put $2.10 aside. Consider this financial misstep the beginning, not the end.

Raffi BilekRaffi Bilek, LCSW-C, is a clinical social worker and director of the Baltimore Therapy Center. He graduated from Brown University with honors and has a diverse professional background that includes clinical experience in psychiatric outpatient settings, family therapy institutes, domestic violence units, community service agencies, and private counseling practices. He lives in Pikesville, Maryland, with his daughters and wife.

How Do the States Stack Up?

Alabama
No. 11 for responsible spending
No. 42 for guilt
No. 25 for should feel less guilty
No. 48 for stress

Alaska
No. 8 for responsible spending
No. 15 for guilt
No. 4 for should feel less guilty
No. 15 for stress

Arizona
No. 43 for responsible spending
No. 24 for guilt
No. 11 for should feel more guilty
No. 19 for stress

Arkansas
No. 41 for responsible spending
No. 11 for guilt
No. 24 for should feel less guilty
No. 8 for stress

California
No. 27 for responsible spending
No. 3 for guilt
No. 5 for should feel less guilty
No. 6 for stress

Colorado
No. 14 for responsible spending
No. 45 for guilt
No. 17 for should feel more guilty
No. 35 for stress

Connecticut
No. 3 for responsible spending
No. 49 for guilt
No. 22 for should feel less guilty
No. 40 for stress

Delaware
No. 13 for responsible spending
No. 39 for guilt
No. 24 for should feel more guilty
No. 39 for stress

Florida
No. 42 for responsible spending
No. 29 for guilt
No. 10 for should feel more guilty
No. 23 for stress

Georgia
No. 39 for responsible spending
No. 26 for guilt
No. 12 for should feel more guilty
No. 34 for stress

Hawaii
No. 34 for responsible spending
No. 16 for guilt
No. 23 for should feel less guilty
No. 30 for stress

Idaho
No. 6 for responsible spending
No. 40 for guilt
No. 18 for should feel less guilty
No. 21 for stress

Illinois
No. 16 for responsible spending
No. 33 for guilt
No. 20 for should feel less guilty
No. 24 for stress

Indiana
No. 22 for responsible spending
No. 10 for guilt
No. 11 for should feel less guilty
No. 29 for stress

Iowa
No. 10 for responsible spending
No. 5 for guilt
No. 1 for should feel less guilty
No. 14 for stress

Kansas
No. 36 for responsible spending
No. 22 for guilt
No. 16 for should feel more guilty
No. 10 for stress

Kentucky
No. 47 for responsible spending
No. 14 for guilt
No. 13 for should feel more guilty
No. 26 for stress

Louisiana
No. 4 for responsible spending
No. 50 for guilt
No. 8 for should feel more guilty
No. 49 for stress

Maine
No. 30 for responsible spending
No. 35 for guilt
No. 14 for should feel more guilty
No. 20 for stress

Maryland
No. 49 for responsible spending
No. 23 for guilt
No. 4 for should feel more guilty
No. 27 for stress

Massachusetts
No. 29 for responsible spending
No. 43 for guilt
No. 9 for should feel more guilty
No. 16 for stress

Michigan
No. 19 for responsible spending
No. 41 for guilt
No. 19 for should feel more guilty
No. 47 for stress

Minnesota
No. 9 for responsible spending
No. 30 for guilt
No. 13 for should feel less guilty
No. 36 for stress

Mississippi
No. 35 for responsible spending
No. 20 for guilt
No. 20 for should feel more guilty
No. 44 for stress

Missouri
No. 24 for responsible spending
No. 9 for guilt
No. 10 for should feel less guilty
No. 17 for stress

Montana
No. 33 for responsible spending
No. 21 for guilt
No. 22 for should feel more guilty
No. 4 for stress

Nebraska
No. 12 for responsible spending
No. 7 for guilt
No. 3 for should feel less guilty
No. 41 for stress

Nevada
No. 44 for responsible spending
No. 8 for guilt
No. 21 for should feel less guilty
No. 13 for stress

New Hampshire
No. 1 for responsible spending
No. 48 for guilt
No. 14 for should feel less guilty
No. 22 for stress

New Jersey
No. 48 for responsible spending
No. 31 for guilt
No. 2 for should feel more guilty
No. 9 for stress

New Mexico
No. 50 for responsible spending
No. 25 for guilt
No. 1 for should feel more guilty
No. 12 for stress

New York
No. 45 for responsible spending
No. 32 for guilt
No. 3 for should feel more guilty
No. 5 for stress

North Carolina
No. 17 for responsible spending
No. 37 for guilt
No. 25 for should feel more guilty
No. 42 for stress

North Dakota
No. 7 for responsible spending
No. 17 for guilt
No. 6 for should feel less guilty
No. 38 for stress

Ohio
No. 31 for responsible spending
No. 44 for guilt
No. 5 for should feel more guilty
No. 50 for stress

Oklahoma
No. 15 for responsible spending
No. 46 for guilt
No. 15 for should feel more guilty
No. 31 for stress

Oregon
No. 18 for responsible spending
No. 4 for guilt
No. 2 for should feel less guilty
No. 18 for stress

Pennsylvania
No. 40 for responsible spending
No. 13 for guilt
No. 23 for should feel more guilty
No. 7 for stress

Rhode Island
No. 20 for responsible spending
No. 47 for guilt
No. 7 for should feel more guilty
No. 46 for stress

South Carolina
No. 25 for responsible spending
No. 6 for guilt
No. 7 for should feel less guilty
No. 33 for stress

South Dakota
No. 26 for responsible spending
No. 19 for guilt
No. 19 for should feel less guilty
No. 43 for stress

Tennessee
No. 28 for responsible spending
No. 28 for guilt
No. 21 for should feel more guilty
No. 25 for stress

Texas
No. 37 for responsible spending
No. 34 for guilt
No. 6 for should feel more guilty
No. 45 for stress

Utah
No. 38 for responsible spending
No. 2 for guilt
No. 12 for should feel less guilty
No. 1 for stress

Vermont
No. 5 for responsible spending
No. 27 for guilt
No. 8 for should feel less guilty
No. 28 for stress

Virginia
No. 21 for responsible spending
No. 38 for guilt
No. 18 for should feel more guilty
No. 32 for stress

Washington
No. 23 for responsible spending
No. 18 for guilt
No. 16 for should feel less guilty
No. 11 for stress

West Virginia
No. 46 for responsible spending
No. 1 for guilt
No. 15 for should feel less guilty
No. 2 for stress

Wisconsin
No. 2 for responsible spending
No. 36 for guilt
No. 9 for should feel less guilty
No. 37 for stress

Wyoming
No. 32 for responsible spending
No. 12 for guilt
No. 17 for should feel less guilty
No. 3 for stress


Methodology

Money Management Score

The Money Management Score is based on 7,480 responses to the following questions and calculated as follows:

“In the past 5 years, have you taken a vacation you knew you couldn’t afford?”

  • 0 points were assigned to those who respond, “No, I haven’t.”
  • 50 points were assigned to those who respond, “Yes, but just once.”
  • 100 points were assigned to those who respond, “Yes, multiple times.”

“In the past 5 years, have you used a credit card or loan to help fund a vacation you couldn’t otherwise pay for?”

  • 0 points were assigned to those who respond, “No, I haven’t.”
  • 50 points were assigned to those who respond, “Yes, but just once.”
  • 100 points were assigned to those who respond, “Yes, multiple times.”

“In the past 5 years, have you suffered negative financial consequences for vacation spending?”

  • 0 points were assigned to those who respond, “No, I haven’t.”
  • 50 points were assigned to those who respond, “Yes, I’ve suffered mild to moderate financial consequences.”
  • 100 points were assigned to those who respond, “Yes, I’ve suffered severe financial consequences.”

Each respondent’s Money Management Score was calculated as a weighted average of the points assigned to their responses for each of the three questions: (0.25)(Q3) + (0.25)(Q4) + (0.50)(Q6).

Each state’s Money Management Score is equal to the average of all the respondents’ scores from that state. Within each state, responses were weighted based on gender so that males and females received equal weight. After weighting, the effective nationwide sample size for the Money Management Score is 5,948.
The states are then sorted by their score from low to high and ranked such that Rank No. 1 is the lowest score (best money management) and Rank No. 50 is the highest score (worst money management).

Guilt Score

The Guilt Score is based on 7,480 responses to the following question and calculated as follows: “In the past 5 years, have you felt guilty about spending too much on vacation?”

  • 0 points were assigned to those who respond, “No, I’ve never felt guilty.”
  • 50 points were assigned to those who respond, “Yes, but only once.”
  • 100 points were assigned to those who respond, “Yes, after a few or more vacations.”

Each respondent’s Guilt Score is equal to the points they were assigned for Q8 (0, 50, or 100). Each state’s Guilt Score is equal to the average of all the respondents’ scores from that state. Within each state, responses were weighted based on gender so that males and females received equal weight. After weighting, the effective nationwide sample size for the Guilt Score is 6,055.

The states were then sorted by their scores from low to high and ranked such that Rank No. 1 is the lowest score (least amount of guilt) and Rank No. 50 is the highest score (highest amount of guilt).

Stress Score

The Stress Score is based on 7,480 responses to the following question and calculated as follows: “In the past 5 years, have you experienced stress from overspending on vacation?”

  • 0 points were assigned to those who respond, “No, I’ve never experienced stress from overspending on vacation.”
  • 50 points were assigned to those who respond, “Yes, I’ve experienced mild to moderate stress from overspending on vacation.”
  • 100 points were assigned to those who respond, “Yes, I’ve experienced severe stress from overspending on vacation.”

Each respondent’s Stress Score is equal to the points they were assigned for Q10 (0, 50, or 100). Each state’s Stress Score is equal to the average of all the respondents’ scores from that state. Within each state, responses were weighted based on gender so that males and females received equal weight. After weighting, the effective nationwide sample size for the Stress Score is 6,107.

The states are then sorted by their scores from low to high and ranked such that Rank No. 1 is the lowest score (least amount of stress) and Rank No. 50 is the highest score (highest amount of stress).

Guilt vs. Money Management Gap

The Guilt vs. Money Management Gap is calculated as Guilt Score – Money Management Score.

The Gap is highest if the Guilt Score is high and Money Management Score is low, meaning the respondent has high guilt, but good money management. They should feel less guilty. The Gap is lowest if the Guilt Score is low and the Money Management Score is high, meaning the respondent has low guilt, but poor money management. They should feel more guilty.

Each state’s Guilt vs. Money Management Gap is equal to the average of all the respondents’ gaps from that state. Within each state, responses are weighted based on gender so that males and females get equal weight. After weighting, the effective nationwide sample size for the Guilt Score is 6,093.
The states are then sorted by their gaps from low to high and ranked such that Rank 1 is the lowest score (too easy on themselves) and Rank 50 is the highest score (too hard on themselves).

How Much Do Grandparents Spend on Holiday Gifts?

The researchers at OppLoans surveyed over 1,700 grandparents nationwide to find out!

Posted: November 26, 2018

One of the best things about being a parent is the hope that one day you’ll get to be a grandparent. That’s when the fun really begins. Instead of worrying about raising those grandkids, you get to swoop in with gifts and sweets and pay your kids back for all the times they ever annoyed you when they were children.

Then again, while it’s fairly commonplace for parents to spend a lot of money on holiday gifts for their kids—and sometimes racking up expensive consumer debt in order to do so—the holiday spending rules for grandparents aren’t so clear. This got us wondering: How much do grandparents actually spend on holiday gifts for their grandkids?

With the holiday season kicking off in earnest this week, our team at OppLoans decided to find the answer. We surveyed over 1,700 grandparents across all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia), asking them how much they spent on holiday gifts, whether they felt their gifts were appreciated, and whether they ever foresaw stopping the grandkid gravy train altogether.

Once we had our answers, we broke the results down by state, age, and gender. Here’s what we found!

Which state’s grandparents spend the most?

StateAmount
Oklahoma$339
Connecticut$336
District of Columbia$330
Louisiana$328
California$311
New York$297
Tennessee$285
Massachusetts$282
Maine$270
Colorado$268
New Jersey$261
Mississippi$259
Texas$258
Kentucky$245
Alaska$243
West Virginia$243
Delaware$237
Alabama$228
Idaho$227
Missouri$221
Arkansas$213
Florida$211
Indiana$207
Ohio$207
Rhode Island$207
South Dakota$207
Pennsylvania$201
Kansas$197
South Carolina$196
Virginia$195
North Carolina$194
Arizona$185
Michigan$185
Utah$175
Maryland$171
Georgia$169
Oregon$168
Iowa$160
Montana$160
Illinois$157
Vermont$150
New Hampshire$146
Wisconsin$145
New Mexico$140
Nevada$129
Hawaii$129
Minnesota$128
Washington$121
North Dakota$118
Wyoming$113
Nebraska$93

Oklahoma Grandparents are A-OK.

Congrats are in order for grandparents in the Sooner State, who reported spending $339 per grandkid on gifts, more than respondents from any other state in the whole country. But grandparents in Connecticut and Washington D.C. are hot on the heels, with a reported $336 and $300 spent per grandchild, respectively.

In last place were grandparents from Nebraska, who apparently take that Midwestern sense of frugality thing to a whole new level. They only spent $93 on holiday gifts per grandchild, a full $20 less than grandparents in Wyoming, who came in second to last. Rounding out the bottom five were North Dakota ($118), Washington ($121), and Minnesota ($128).

Of course, the more grandparents spend on holiday gifts for their grandkids, the more they run the risk of overspending and racking up debt. When we mentioned “Midwestern thriftiness” in the previous paragraph, we didn’t mean it as a slight. Quite the opposite.

“It is key to budget, track and prepare when shopping to avoid overspending,” said Ken Mahoney, CEO of Mahoney Asset Management (@mahoneygps). “We often add an extra item to the basket or must have the most recent toy or fashion item, however, these expenses soon pile up. Creating a Christmas list to stop impulse buying and additional unneeded purchases is necessary.”

Mahoney had some additional advice for grandparents to help them stay within their budget:

“Don’t hesitate to inquire with a sales associate to uncover ways to save. For example—unadvertised coupons, upcoming sales—inquire about senior citizen saving days or promotions, and layaway programs. Whether it be 10 percent or even 20 percent off, it could be the easiest $100 you save.”

Grandpas spend more than grandmas.

On average, our survey found that grandparents spend $218 on holiday gifts for their grandkids.  But we were a little bit surprised when we found that grandpas actually spent more on holiday gifts than grandmas: $244 to $202. We would have thought it was the other way around!

We also asked our survey respondents to place themselves within three age groups: 35-44, 45-54, and 55+. Our results showed that, as grandparents got older, they spent less and less on gifts. Grandparents aged 35-44 spent $312, grandparents aged 45-54 spent $248, and grandparents aged 55+ spent $179.

Honestly, it was good to see older grandparents (who are more likely to be living on a fixed income) spending their money responsibly.  And, heck, for grandparents who want to spend more, there are ways for them to earn extra income!

Here’s a great recommendation from a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch (@AndreaWoroch):

“One way to get away from stressors and maintain some freedom is by spending quality time with fun-loving pets. Sites like Rover.com can connect you with good paying dog-sitting and dog-walking opportunities in your area.  And lots of people are in need of pet care around the holidays.

“Sitters are able to choose their own rates and have the flexibility of scheduling their work around their availability. Rover’s sitters/walkers can easily find a gig daily and earn well over $1,000 per month. That kind of cash influx goes a long way in budgeting for the holidays.”

Don’t let that holiday spirit lead to a high-interest hangover.

Although this wasn’t one of the questions we included in our survey, it’s a fair bet that many of the grandparents who responded are putting their holiday shopping purchases on a credit card. And while credit cards can be a great way to earn points, maintain your credit score, and avoid those “it’s two days till payday” blues, they can also be pretty dang risky.

As such, here are some helpful tips from Brittney Mayer, credit strategist at CardRates.com (@CardRates), to help grandparents shop smarter and avoid making “get out of all that holiday debt” their default New Year’s resolution:

Don’t max out your cards. Avoid carrying high balances. CardRates.com states that your utilization ratio (which is what you owe over your available credit) is a huge part of your credit score.

Don’t use more than one or two cards when possible. Spreading out all of your purchases can make juggling monthly payment harder to manage.

Don’t sign up for multiple retail credit cards. They may be enticing at checkout when the clerk offers a 10-20 percent discount off your entire purchase, but oftentimes these cards can come with high interest rates and your credit score can also be adversely affected by opening multiple accounts.

Use cards that offer rewards. You’ll get cash back, points, and miles depending on the type of card you use.  All of your holiday purchases can add up very quickly so you might as well maximize your rewards.  You’ll have to make sure you are paying off your balance each month, though.

Use your card’s activity alerts. You can set up notifications to alert you of purchases made with your account. This can help you stay on track and avoid any fraudulent activity during the busy shopping season and save you a lot of money recovering stolen information or, heaven forbid, personal funds.”

Most grandparents feel their gifts are appreciated.

One of the other questions we asked was whether or not grandparents felt their gifts were appreciated, and we were glad to find that the vast majority of them do!

A whopping 80 percent of grandparents feel their grandkids appreciate the gifts, with only 11 percent feeling their grandkids appreciate the gifts a little bit, and four percent responding that their grandkids don’t appreciate the gifts at all.

Maybe those latter grandparents are the ones who plan to stop giving when their grandchildren reach a certain age. Seventy-six percent of respondents said they never plan on stopping giving gifts to grandchildren, but the ones who did cite an average age of 20 as their planned stopping point.

Clothing, toys, and gift cards were the favorite gifts for grandparents to give, according to our survey. But grandparents who plan to keep giving gifts to older grandkids might want to consider giving them the gift of money instead of the gift of, well, gifts.

“For older grandkids—cash is king,” said Andrew Moore-Crispin, the Director of Content at Ting Mobile (@tingftw), citing data from the Ting Holiday Shopping Survey. “51 percent of younger people, aged 18-30, said they would rather receive cash or gift card to help them pay a monthly expense (i.e. student loan bill, mobile bill, etc.).”

Lastly, 15 percent of those surveyed said they had been given a spending limit by parents. But that’s the great thing about being a grandparent, right? Sure, they can give you a spending limit, but that doesn’t mean you have to abide by it …

If you enjoyed this piece, check out these other posts and articles from OppLoans:

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Contributors

Ken Mahoney is a licensed financial advisor with over 27 years’ experience and is the CEO of New York-based Mahoney Asset Management (@mahoneygps). He is the author of several books including A GPS for Your Retirement and is a regular guest contributor on CNBC and FOX Business. Ken is also a staple on morning drive-time radio providing financial advice and can be heard on 100.7 WHUD.
Brittney Mayer is a credit strategist for CardRates.com (@CardRates), where she uses her extensive research background to write comprehensive consumer guides and in-depth company profiles. Leveraging her vast knowledge of the financial industry, Brittney’s work can be found on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, US News & World Report, CreditRepair.com, Lexington Law, and BadCredit.org. Brittney specializes in translating complex financial jargon and ideas into readable, actionable advice on lending best practices.
Andrew Moore-Crispin is Ting Mobile’s (@tingftw) Director of Content and Brand. He leads the team that looks after anything that can be considered content (the blog, social media, video, commercials, ad copy, and other fun stuff).  Andrew started out with a degree in print journalism and an internship at a computer magazine. He progressed to become a technology magazine journalist and editor. You can imagine how the rest of that story goes. Except, perhaps, for the part where he ended up in front of the camera as the resident tech expert guest on a national news program in Canada for several months running. Or the part where he went to Malaysia to be the editor of a city lifestyle magazine for a year.  While he’s admittedly a bit of a geek, he’s built a career on talking about tech stuff in an understandable and approachable way.
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer-savings expert, writer, and TV personality who is dedicated to helping Americans find simple ways to spend less and save more without sacrificing their lifestyle. She is a regularly-featured contributor for popular shows like Today, Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, and KTLA Morning News. In print and online, her advice has appeared in popular media such as New York Times, USA Today, Money Magazine, Cosmopolitan, People, Consumer Reports, Reader’s Digest and many, many more. Read more about Andrea at AndreaWoroch.com or follow her on Twitter.

How Much Does Your City’s Bike Share Cost?

We gathered data from local bike share programs in 65 cities nationwide to find out!

Updated: October 18, 2018

No, it’s not just you: Over the past half-decade, bike sharing programs have exploded in popularity. And not just in America. Their meteoric rise has been a worldwide phenomenon. Between 2013 and 2016 alone, the global number of shared bicycles jumped from 700,000 to 2.3 million!

Much like car sharing companies, local bike sharing programs don’t just benefit hometown residents. They’re great for tourists as well. Why spend a hefty chunk of your vacation budget on a car rental or ride shares when you can head to the nearest docking station and rent a bicycle as needed? You can even plan your own scenic tour!

But while many bike sharing programs in the U.S. are fairly affordable, some of them cost way more than others. To try and gain a clearer picture of bike sharing affordability nationwide, we looked up bike sharing programs in 65 different towns and cities across the country and we compared the costs of renting a bike for one day.

Here’s what we found!

How much does a one-day bike rental cost in your city?

CityCost for one day/8-hour rentalBike share service
Fargo, ND$5.00Great Rides Bike Share
Los Angeles, CA$5.00Metro Bike Share
Nashville, TN$5.00Nashville B-cycle
Dayton, OH$5.00Link Dayton Bike Share
Greenville, SC$5.00Greenville B-cycle
El Paso, TX$6.00El Paso B-cycle
Omaha, NE$6.00Heartland B-Cycle
Minneapolis, MN$6.00Nice Ride
McAllen, TX$6.00McAllen B-cycle
Des Moines, IA$6.00Des Moines B-cycle
Madison, WI$6.00Madison B-cycle
Birmingham, AL$6.00Zyp
Salt Lake City, UT$7.00Green Bike
Louisville, KY$7.50LouVelo
Aspen, CO$7.50WE-cycle
Columbus, OH$8.00CoGo Bike Share
Fort Worth, TX$8.00Fort Worth B-cycle
Indianapolis, IN$8.00Indiana Pacers Bike Share
Charlotte, NC$8.00Charlotte B-cycle
Washington DC$8.00Capital Bikeshare
Detroit, MI$8.00MoGo
Las Vegas, NV$8.00RTC Bike Share
Tucson, AZ$8.00Tugo Bike Share
Arlington, TX$8.00Zagster Bike Share
Jackson, WY$8.00START Bike
Cincinnati, OH$8.00RedBike
Boulder, CO$8.00Boulder B-cycle
Chattanooga, TN$8.00Bike Chattanooga
Denver, CO$9.00Denver B-cycle
Oklahoma City, OK$9.00Spokies OKC
San Jose, CA$9.95Ford Go Bike
San Francisco, CA$9.95Ford GoBike
Philadelphia, PA$10.00Indego
Boston, MA$10.00Blue Bikes
Colorado Springs, CO$10.00PikeRide Works
Oakland, CA$10.00Ford Go Bike
Tulsa, OK$10.00This Machine
Lincoln, NE$10.00BikeLNK
New York, NY$12.00Citi Bike
San Antonio, TX$12.00SWell Cycle
Austin, TX$12.00Austin B-cycle
Chicago, IL$15.00Divvy Bikes
Albuquerque, NM**$16.00Pace Bikes
San Diego, CA$24.00Discover Bike
Miami, FL$24.00Decobike
Wichita, KS**$24.00Bike Share ICT
Columbus, IN**$24.00Columbike
Atlanta, GA**$25.00Relay Bike Share
Phoenix, AZ**$25.00Grid Bike Share
Mesa, AZ**$25.00Grid Bike Share
Seattle, WA**$25.00LimeBike
Dallas, TX**$25.00LimeBike
Pittsburgh, PA**$32.00Healthy Ride
Sacramento, CA**$33.55Jump Bikes
Kansas City, MO$35.00Kansas City B-cycle
Buffalo, NY**$37.30Reddy Bikeshare
Memphis, TN**$40.00Explore Bike Share
Portland, OR**$43.40BIKETOWN
Eugene, OR**$47.50Peace Health Rides
Houston, TX**$48.00Houston B-cycle
New Orleans, LA**$53.00Blue Bikes Nola
Long Beach, CA**$56.00Long Beach Bike Share
Cleveland, OH**$56.00UH Bikes
Honolulu, HI**$56.00Biki
Milwaukee, WI**$64.00Bublr Bikes

**does not have a daily pass option.

How did we determine these costs?

For some bike sharing programs, figuring out the total cost of a one-day rental was easy! These were the programs that had one-day rental options. With other programs, it wasn’t quite so simple. These were the places that only had hourly rentals, pay-as-you-go rates, or some combination of the two. Programs that lack a daily pass are marked with a ** symbol.

We decided that we would use an eight-hour time period as our point of comparison. Eight hours is roughly equivalent to a full day of activity, and this would give us a standard measure to use across all the different hourly and pay-as-you programs. If an hourly/pay-as-you-go program has a maximum daily charge, we have used that number to determine the total cost per day.

Here’s an example: Let’s say that your city’s bike share costs $5.00 for one hour, and then $.10 for every minute after that. We would multiply $.10 by 60 minutes, coming out to a cost of $6.00 per hour. So it would be $5.00 for the first hour, and then $6.00 per hour for the seven hours after that. Add it all up, and the cost of your city’s bike share would be $47.00

If it helps, you can think about our eight-hour measurement like it’s the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of this experiment. Just like comparing APR lets you find out the true cost of, say, a payday loan versus a standard personal loan, using an eight-hour day allows us to make an apples-to-apples comparison across bike sharing programs.

One final note: A number of these programs also rent out electrically-assisted bikes as well as e-scooters, and we decided not to include these in our research. These prices reflect almost exclusively the local bike-share programs that are limited to that specific city.

What city has the cheapest one-day bike share?

You probably thought it was Portland. Or Minneapolis. Or Austin. Or Denver. Or really any one of the many crunchy, bike-friendly cities spread across the country.

But you’re wrong. The U.S. city with the cheapest one-day rental is … well, okay, it’s a five-way tie. Not nearly as exciting as having one clear winner, but what are you going to do?

We found five U.S. cities that charge $5.00 for a full-day pass:

In general, the cheapest cities were the ones that had daily rental options, while the most expensive were programs with hourly/pay-as-you-go rates. One important thing to note: Some daily rental passes still limit you to 30 minute or hour-long rides before you have to dock your bike, and then rent it again to continue riding.

Now, granted, you’ll get unlimited shorter rides within that one-day period, but you’ll still need to dock your bike every 30 minutes to 60 minutes or likely incur additional charges. And some also have waiting periods before you can take another bike out.

In short, do your research before using a bike share—especially if you’re a tourist visiting the city in question—and plan your activities accordingly to minimize costs.

What cities have the most expensive one-day bike shares?

As we mentioned in the previous section, the highest costs we found were from bike sharing programs that lacked a daily rental option. In order to rent a bike for one day in these cities, you would simply pay by the hour or pay as you go.

Naturally, that payment structure leads to higher costs. And while many daily pass options still require you to stick to 30 minute or hour-long rides before docking the bike again, those unlimited rides still add up to substantial savings.

If you’re looking to rent a bike for one day (or eight hours), here are the five most expensive cities that we found:

 

One thing you’ll want to look for when researching a potential bike share program is whether or not they have a daily maximum charge. It’s almost guaranteed to be much lower than the cost of renting a bike for a full eight hours would be.

And here’s a helpful hack if you’re visiting one of the more expensive cities on this list: Check out the cost of their long-term passes. Even if you end up purchasing a monthly pass and only using it for two days, there’s a good chance that it’ll cost you less money overall. Just remember to cancel any recurring charges!

What’s the average cost of a one-day bike share rental?

Tallying up the 65 bike share programs that we studied nationwide, the mean average cost of a one-day bike share rental is $19.86.

That’s not bad! Eight hours of pedal-powered transportation around your city at a rate of almost $2.50 per hour. And unlike with renting a car (or owning one for that matter), you don’t have to pay anything extra for gas!

If you’re wondering what the most common cost of a bike share is, we’ve also got you covered. It’s $8.00, a price tag shared by a whopping 13 different cities:

Is bike sharing the solution for you?

There are many cities across the U.S. where relying on a bike share for full-time transport might not be the most cost-effective solution, especially for local residents. Heck, in some of the cities we mentioned in the previous section, even a tourist might find using Uber and Lyft to be less costly than renting a bike.

But still, there are still tons of places where utilizing a bike share—whether as a tourist or as a resident—will not only a provide you with a healthier and more environmentally friendly alternative to using a car, but will add up to some massive money savings as well.

If you have any questions about our study, please feel free to contact us on Facebook and Twitter. If you enjoyed this piece and want to read more stuff just like it, check out these related research and articles from OppLoans:

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46% of Millennials Feel Held Back by Their Credit Score

Our survey found that bad credit is taking a toll on young people in surprising ways.

Bad Credit Is Holding Back Millennials

Bad credit spells trouble at any age, and young people are not immune from its effects. In fact, our latest survey found that a shocking number of millennials are feeling the pinch, with 46 percent reporting that their credit score is holding them back.

What makes this number surprising isn’t that a big chunk of millennials have bad credit. (TransUnion found that 43 percent of millennials have subprime scores, compared to 20 percent for boomers and 9 percent for the silent generation.) Rather, what comes as a shock is that so many millennials are feeling the effects of bad credit so young, and it’s playing out in far-reaching ways.

What’s the Impact of Bad Credit on Young People?

For many older Americans, applying for a mortgage is the credit milestone that’s most significantly impacted by a low score. But bad credit can cause trouble long before that. Transportation, credit cards, housing—even though a lot of people don’t realize it, all of these can be impacted by bad credit. Our survey found that a significant number of millennials are struggling in these areas, precisely because of low credit scores.

  • 27% of millennials said a bad credit score had hurt their chances of buying a car.
  • 26% said poor credit had hurt their chances of getting a loan.
  • 23% said poor credit had hurt their chances of getting a credit card.
  • 25% said poor credit had hurt their chances of getting an apartment or a house.
  • 14% said they lived with roommates because they couldn’t rent on their own due to bad credit.

Car Loans

Buying a car is a rite of passage for many young people. But buying a car outright—even a cheap one—is outside the price range of most. The solution? Finance it.

While most people will qualify for an auto loan, the rate at which it’s offered will depend in large part on a borrower’s credit score. And, unfortunately, those with bad credit can expect a much higher cost. How much higher? Subprime borrowers will likely pay an interest rate four times that of borrowers with excellent credit.

Our survey found that 27 percent of millennials blame their credit score for preventing them from getting a new car.

Loans and Credit Cards

Another part of young adulthood is a first taste of financial independence. This includes a job to—hopefully—make ends meet, but rent and bills too. Loans and credit cards are also usually a part of this new reality.

Twenty-seven percent of millennials in our survey said they don’t apply for credit cards because they think they’ll be denied. A further 23 percent said bad credit had hurt their chances of getting a credit card in the past. Additionally, 15 percent said they regularly miss payments and their credit card debt is unmanageable.

With loans, millennials face similar difficulties. Twenty-six percent of respondents said a bad credit score had hurt their chances of getting a new loan or line of credit.

Housing

As young people more and more delay home ownership, it might seem that bad credit would impact their lives less and less. But this isn’t the case.

Our survey discovered that a significant percentage of millennials feel hindered by their credit score as they make housing decisions. A full quarter (25 percent) of millennials reported that bad credit had hurt their chances of getting an apartment or a house. And 20 percent of millennials said they can’t buy a home because they think their mortgage application will be denied.

For some millennials, the impact of bad credit on housing options has left them struggling to move beyond a dorm-like lifestyle. Fourteen percent said they’re forced to live with roommates because their credit prevents them from getting their own apartment.

Who’s to Blame?

Many would argue that part of being young is making mistakes. And certainly, we found that some of the credit damage that millennials suffer is due to easy-to-avoid mishaps.

Of the millennials who missed credit card payments in our survey, 36 percent said they simply forgot about it. Another 10 percent said they had a bill they didn’t know they had to pay. This means that nearly half of those who missed credit card payments could have avoided them if they kept better track of their bills or set up autopay on their accounts.

However, our survey also found that a significant percentage of millennials felt they were unprepared to tackle the financial challenges that tanked their credit. Twenty-four percent said they had received insufficient education about habits and techniques that build a strong credit history. It might not be surprising, then, that 15 percent of millennials said they regularly miss credit card payments, and 43 percent described their credit card debt as unmanageable.

How Can Millennials Avoid Bad Credit?

Bad credit is tough to fix. Black marks usually stay on a credit report for seven years, and even though lenders typically give more weight to recent credit history, a missed payment from long ago can still show up to haunt you.

The better option is to avoid the mishaps that sink your credit in the first place.

While going back in time isn’t possible, young people with short credit histories are in a position to put themselves on the right path early on. And it’s never too late to build good money habits, because even if mistakes have been made, good money habits and a strong credit history can help to counteract them.

To help millennials keep their credit healthy, we put together a list of money hacks designed specifically for the lives of young people. (Many of them are good advice for older generations, too.) These seven tips offer simple, concrete ways that millennials can avoid credit damage and begin to build a strong credit history.

  1. Use a free budgeting app. Budgeting apps are a thing, and they’re perfect for tech-savvy millennials. They keep you organized and honest. Take advantage of them.
  2. Check your credit report. You can get a free credit report once a year upon request. Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com for yours. Knowledge is power.
  3. Go cash-only. Credit cards are easy to overuse, but with cash, you can’t spend what you don’t have. Make a budget and withdraw “fun” money once a week. Once it’s gone, you’re done until next time.
  4. Set up automatic payments. Use these to avoid late fees and credit damage. But be careful: if you don’t have funds to cover the bill, you’ll overdraw your account. If you’re on a tight budget, consider setting your plan to pay the minimum amount due, and deal with the rest manually.
  5. Call if you’re behind. Creditors lose money when they sell your debt to a collection agency. If you’re behind, they might be willing to negotiate with you. It doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a try.
  6. Close old utility accounts. Millennials move around a lot. In the shuffle, it’s easy to forget to close an account. Don’t let a silly slip-up damage your credit.
  7. Open a savings account. Millennials know it’s often too easy to withdraw money from a checking account. Set up a separate savings account and get in the habit of making regular deposits. Bonus: you’ll earn interest, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Survey Methodology

This survey was commissioned by OppLoans and conducted by OnePoll. It ran from June 7 to June 19, 2018. Two thousand Americans ages 18 and older were surveyed. One thousand respondents were between the ages of 18 and 34 and defined as “millennials.” OnePoll is a member of the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research and employs members of the Market Research Society.

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All data and images in this report are free to share and post. However, please provide a link back to this page to ensure context and accuracy.