SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Holidays are a time for giving, but this season, many Utahns may be cutting back, even with the increase in their salaries.

That’s because the cost of goods is outpacing wage increases, according to Matt Brannon, a data writer for Clever Real Estate, who worked on a survey about holiday spending.

“It’s interesting because we found that 90% of Americans are going to cut back on spending this year. And about 30% have seen their wages go up,” Brannon said.

According to the personal finance website WalletHub, 2021 holiday sales grew 14.1% from the previous year, reaching a record $886.7 billion. WalletHub calculated 550 U.S. cities–Utah included–using five key characteristics: population, income, age, and savings-to-monthly expenses ratio. 

Newton, Mass., had the top ranking with a holiday budget of $4,233, with Palo Alto, Calif., as a close second at $3,920.

Salt Lake City had an overall rating of 358 with a holiday budget of $897, but while that may not look like much compared to the top states, it’s a $57 increase from 2020. Adding to that, ADP Research Institute reported a 10.1% pay growth for Utahns over the past year.

Brannon helped conduct a survey on 1,000 Americans across the nation, asking about their holiday spending. The results were surprising because Americans said they were planning to spend $50 less during the holidays.

“I think we expected people might be spending less, but not to this extent,” Brannon said.

However, holiday spending wasn’t the most surprising stat Brannon found: 

  • One in 10 Americans (with many of those usually going holiday shopping) say that they’re not going to shop at all because inflation is too high
  • 77% of Western Americans wish that there was less pressure to spend money on holiday gifts
  • 50% of Americans told us they would be okay if gift-giving stopped being part of the holidays altogether
  • 67% of people in the West are adjusting their holiday shopping habits due to inflation, compared to 61% of Americans as a whole. That 67% figure is the highest of any of the four Census regions.  

“On the bright side, people in the West are more likely to say they met their 2022 financial goals than the average American (58% vs. 48%),” Brannon said. 

So, if you’re going to spend much during the holidays, just be careful and keep on your budget, Brannon said.