In the first quarter of 2020, Americans watched as a global pandemic swept across the planet, eventually leading the U.S. economy to crumble around them. With so many across the nation – and across the world – falling ill with COVID-19, state governments were faced with the decision to shut down public places, leading many to find themselves out of work.
According to a February 2020 survey from OppLoans – our 2020 Family Budget Survey – more than one-quarter of financial decision-makers said they were not in a good financial place before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. But with more than 10 million U.S. workers filing in March for their first week of unemployment, what will be the outlook once the dust settles? With restaurants, retail operations, and businesses closing all around us – some temporarily, others for good – the outcome for many Americans is dire.
Now, more than ever, Americans are working with reduced budgets – but those who are struggling don’t have to manage alone.
In addition to a link to the Money Guide, below is a look at key data points from the OppLoans 2020 Family Budget Survey. While the financial outlook for Americans may be evolving, we can still see how households were managing finances before this global emergency so drastically shifted the state of our economy.
OppLoans 2020 Family Budget Survey: Key Findings
Below is a summary of key findings from the February 2020 survey.
Most respondents say they make financial decisions individually (57%); 40% say they make financial decisions jointly with a partner/spouse.
Budgeters are better savers and more financially stable
Budgeting is widespread (55%) and methods vary in sophistication. Apps are tools that help get the job done. With reduced incomes due to Covid-19, now more than ever, these budgeting tools may help.
Those who do budget tend to save a little more each month (79% of budgeters save something compared to 59% of non-budgeters) and are more active on blogs/websites to learn how to improve their financial situation (56% of budgeters compared to 29% of non-budgeters). Budgeters also feel more financially steady than non-budgeters (61% versus 37%).
For those who do have a budget, they tend to set them on a monthly basis (50%) or to cover a two-week pay period (26%). However, budgeting methods vary across respondents. While some entail manual tracking/posting on the refrigerator, others are more sophisticated.
Even those who are not self-proclaimed budgeters use budgeting apps. Across all respondents, apps are the most popular way to track expenses: 33% use an app from their bank/credit union, while 20% use an app that is unaffiliated with their bank or credit union, such as Mint.
Personal debt is not uncommon
Most survey respondents (81%) feel pretty confident they have enough money to pay for necessities; however, the bare necessities, like rent and utilities, are at times what they also struggle to cover. Making personal debt payments on time plagues 38% of consumers.
Few have a lengthy unemployment cushion
A majority (70%) claim to put away a little something (excluding retirement) each month. However, consumers do not have an unemployment cushion. Financial emergencies are big showstoppers for close to half of U.S. consumers; 16% would not be able to get by if anything happened, and another 38% said they could only make it from 1 to 4 weeks.
Unfortunately, for many, the financial emergency is here. The sharp rise in unemployment and economic uncertainty in Q2 is anticipated to create additional challenges for consumers.
Financial stability is tricky and requires an “active” mentality
Financially unstable survey respondents are less proactive in taking matters into their own hands in terms of sticking to a budget and conducting financial research to improve their situation. Seventy-two percent stick to their budget most of the time versus 93% of those who are in a stable state; only 35% read blogs/go online for financial advice versus 53% of those who are more stable.
Prior to the economic collapse, more than one-quarter (28%) of surveyed U.S. consumers said they were not in a good place financially. Of those who admitted to this, 90% said they felt they were living paycheck to paycheck and just couldn’t seem to get ahead.
For the 50% who said they were in a good place financially, sticking to their budget was a key factor in remaining steady (93% claim to do so most of the time/always). While they may have – or had — a little more income and are – or were – able to save and invest for retirement a bit more, they are also “actively” managing their money via apps from their bank, online budget calculators, and/or separate accounts for saving and spending.
Financial infidelity is “normal”
It’s hard for consumers to be up front about their spending habits all the time. While only 6% feel lying to a spouse/partner about finances is not a real offense, it’s still commonplace for people to bend the truth. A good portion admit to having lied about purchases/outings (54%), general spending habits (50%), and sticking to a budget (46%).
Debt is an area that is especially difficult to be totally forthcoming about – 44% have lied about current debt and 38% have lied about past debt.
Who lies about money? By definition, those who have committed “financial infidelity” have lied three or more times about at least one of the following: purchases/outings, earnings/debt, general spending habits, or sticking to a budget. They carry more personal loan debt than others (47% have at least $15,000 in debt or more), feel they can’t get ahead financially (68%), feel under water on keeping up with monthly bills (53% feel bills are more than their monthly income), and resent their significant other regarding their financial situation (38%). Demographically, they aren’t much different than anyone else.
So who are there “perfect people” out there who never lie? For those who we consider nonliars – those who haven’t committed financial infidelity – it’s a matter of mindset. These people are not more wealthy or stable than anyone else. They do, however, tend to feel that lying/withholding information from a partner is a real offense and never acceptable. They practice what they preach and claim they never even lied one time regarding earnings, spending, honoring their budget, and accruing and being forthcoming with debt.
How OppLoans can help
Using insights from the 2020 Family Budget Survey and top-credentialed experts in the field, the OppLoans Money Guide provides an in-depth toolkit for those struggling with key personal finance concepts. The guide addresses personal and household budgeting challenges, income challenges and resources, and general guidance on paying bills.
Additionally, for readers looking for more specific or in-depth information, the Money Guide links to a series of articles covering a variety of topics, including:
In February 2020, OppLoans commissioned an online survey through Pollfish to interview 800 U.S. household financial decision-makers regarding their budgeting practices and attitudes towards managing their finances. Fieldwork was undertaken February 26, 2020. Respondents ranged from age 19 to 64. Each of the four census regions (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West) were equally represented.
Once all survey results were collected, data was weighted to ensure proportional representation of U.S. consumers by age and geography. Margin of error was +/- 3.46% at a 95% confidence level, meaning if the study were repeated, 95 out of 100 times, results would range about 4% in either direction.
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?
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.
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
States Where Residents Are Worst at Managing Money on Vacation
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
States With the Lowest Levels of Guilt
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
States With the Lowest Levels of Stress
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
States That Are Too Easy on Themselves
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 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 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
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).
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).
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?
District of Columbia
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!
“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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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?
Cost for one day/8-hour rental
Bike share service
Great Rides Bike Share
Los Angeles, CA
Metro Bike Share
Link Dayton Bike Share
El Paso, TX
El Paso B-cycle
Des Moines, IA
Des Moines B-cycle
Salt Lake City, UT
CoGo Bike Share
Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth B-cycle
Indiana Pacers Bike Share
Las Vegas, NV
RTC Bike Share
Tugo Bike Share
Zagster Bike Share
Oklahoma City, OK
San Jose, CA
Ford Go Bike
San Francisco, CA
Colorado Springs, CO
Ford Go Bike
New York, NY
San Antonio, TX
San Diego, CA
Bike Share ICT
Relay Bike Share
Grid Bike Share
Grid Bike Share
Kansas City, MO
Kansas City B-cycle
Explore Bike Share
Peace Health Rides
New Orleans, LA**
Blue Bikes Nola
Long Beach, CA**
Long Beach Bike Share
**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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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