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Oxygen Study Finds More Than One-Third of Adults Go into Debt to Buy Holiday Gifts

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As the busiest shopping season of the year approaches, Oxygen Media today released a study conducted with Research Now that examines the holiday spending habits of U.S. consumers. Americans spend more during the holiday season than at any other time of the year, and despite the current economic situation, 80 percent of adults expect to spend the same amount or more on holiday gifts this year compared to last year. Many adults (47 percent) spend more than they can afford during the holiday season, with 36 percent saying they have gone into credit card debt in order to buy gifts. The release of this study coincides with Oxygen's thought-provoking docu-series "My Shopping Addiction," which airs on Mondays at 11pm ET/PT, providing an authentic look into the lives of young people in crisis due to a dangerous addiction to shopping.

"During the holiday season all of the stores have sales to try to pull us in and get us to spend more," said Dr. David Tolin, a licensed psychologist and addiction expert featured on Oxygen's "My Shopping Addiction." "For people with shopping addictions it can be a particularly dangerous time. This holiday season, instead of buying present after present, try doing something special for people you care about and letting them know how you feel."

Three-quarters (73 percent) of Americans spend more during the holiday season than at any other time of the year including vacations, birthdays, and Valentine's Day. Following are some of the holiday shopping habits of adults that were revealed:

- 81 percent feel obligated to give gifts to those who give to them.
- 54 percent spend at least $500 or more.
- 25 percent spend at least $1,000 or more.
- 19 percent are willing to spend twice the retail price to buy "hard to find" items.
- On average, Americans spend almost twice as much on gifts for a significant other ($323) compared to anyone else including parents ($152), children ($172), and close friends ($58).


Top Five Tips to Avoid Debt During the Holidays
1) Take your time and plan ahead. Feeling rushed at the end of the holiday season can make you rush, overspend, and make poor choices. Make a list of everyone ahead of time so you know what you are dealing with and whom you are buying for, and you aren't just randomly grabbing things when you are in the store.

2) Make a budget, and stick to that budget by either bringing a prepaid debit or gift card to the store or just bringing the cash you can spend. Without the credit cards, you can't start spending blindly.

3) Holiday shop at times when you do not feel depleted. If you are at your best in the morning, then go in the morning. If you feel depleted, you are more likely to make impulse grabs and get sloppy.

4) If being in the store leads you to make more of the impulse grab-and-go purchases, then don't do it. Use online shopping or some other means of shopping that helps manage those temptations.

5) Think of new ways of gift giving. If you have a large family, do a gift exchange so you aren't blowing the bank on lots of junky cheap gifts, and instead draw names and be able to focus on buying for fewer people. In a family, perhaps the entire gift budget could be used to purchase a trip that you take together or tickets to something you all want to see.

Source: Provided by Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a licensed psychologist and addiction expert featured on Oxygen's "My Shopping Addiction."

Oxygen's authentic docu-series, "My Shopping Addiction," gives viewers an inside look at what happens when their shopping obsession causes their finances and lives to spiral out of control. Each hour-long episode follows two different shopping addicts that will be forced to face their problem head on with the help of a clinical psychologist who will guide them on the road to recovery.


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