News Detail

Liliana Lengua is quoted in this article in NBC’s Better online magazine about emotion-driven holiday spending

Parents, the holidays can lead to emotion-driven spending. Don't fall for it.

Don’t shop ‘til you drop for the kids. They can’t have everything they want, financial planning and parenting experts caution.
By Herb Weisbaum

Chances are you plan to spend more on holiday shopping this year than last. If so, you’re not alone. The average consumer expects to shell out $1,000 this year, up 4.1 percent from last year, the National Retail Federation forecasts.

And yet, nearly 40 million Americans are still paying off 2017’s holiday credit card debt, according to an analysis by the personal finance website NerdWallet.

The NerdWallet survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults found that:

  • More people plan to use a credit card to pay for their holiday purchases — 73 percent vs. 58 percent last year.
  • Those who do pay with a credit card plan to take longer to pay off the charges — 3.2 months, on average, as compared to 2.3 months in 2017. That means another month’s worth of interest charges to pay.

Kimberly Palmer, NerdWallet’s personal finance expert, cautions families that overspending at the holidays can be really stressful and that stress can last a long time.

“It’s easy to let the spirit of the season turn into a spending tsunami that ends up costing more than expected,” Palmer said. “No one wants to disappoint the kids, but the holidays can be really exciting and fun while sticking to a budget.”


Those wish lists can be a real challenge. Many parents try to buy everything on the list, even if it means blowing up their holiday shopping budget...

Liliana Lengua , director of the Center for Child & Family Well-Being at the University of Washington , grew up in a family that didn’t make holiday wish lists. It meant parents and relatives needed to “put a lot of thought” into what the children needed and might like, she said.

While retailers encourage kids to have wish lists — it seems Santa knows if you're naughty or nice, but not what you’d like him to bring you — parents don’t need to encourage them to do this.

“If you’re going to have a wish list, you might want to put some boundaries on it to avoid the rampant, lavish and expensive gifts that can end up on those lists,” Lengua said. “Our kids grew up thinking Santa Claus liked to see wish lists that were restrained, that Santa preferred to get letters from kids who really only asked for one or two things or three things. And maybe one of the things you ask for could be a gift for someone who might not otherwise get something.”

Read the entire article here .