Did You Spend More Than You Budgeted for This Winter? You’re Not Alone

Nearly 1 in 4 Americans spent more due to the cold weather.
  • Nearly a quarter of Americans said that the cold weather made them spend more money, according to a MassMutual poll.
  • Online shopping was a major culprit for winter overspending, with 49 percent of Americans saying they spent too much money online during the season.
  • Over half of Americans surveyed spent money on a winter vacation, likely to escape the cold weather.

Although it’s technically spring, cold weather is lingering in many parts of the country — which could be bad for your wallet. A poll of 1,000 Americans conducted by MassMutual found that nearly one in four admitted that they spent more money this winter due to cold weather, with 34 percent of Americans spending $1,000 or more on non-necessities between December 2018 and February 2019.

See: 10 Ways the Weather Affects Your Spending Habits

Winter Weather Can Cause an Increase in Online Shopping

During the winter months, 49 percent of Americans said that they overspent money online. The top purchases made online were takeout food (31 percent), clothes (25 percent) and streaming services (16 percent).

“High spending, and specifically online spending, in cold weather is not overly surprising,” said Tara Reynolds, head of marketing and business development at MassMutual. “It’s accessible, it’s easy and it’s fast.”

Related: 12 Clever Ways Amazon Gets You to Spend More

Most Americans Went Over Their Projected Winter Budget

The survey found that 73 percent of Americans expected to exceed their intended winter budget. Respondents anticipated going over their budgets at varying rates in different categories:

  • Dining out: 39 percent
  • Clothing: 27 percent
  • Entertainment outside of the home: 21 percent
  • Vacations: 17 percent

Travel was a common expense this winter, with 53 percent of those surveyed spending money on a winter vacation, and 35 percent spending money on an upcoming summer trip.

Use These Next Time: 15 Cheap (or Free!) Ways to Beat the Midwinter Blues

Spending Might Not Slow Down in Warmer Weather

The majority of Americans — 56 percent — said they plan to spend less in the spring and summer to make up for their high winter spending. But planning and doing are two different things, and 62 percent of Americans admit that they tend to spend more money during the warmer months.

Learn: How to Stop Spending Money

How to Curb Your Spending, Year-Round

If you’re one of the many Americans who have been busting their budgets with online shopping, Reynolds recommends taking time to think about your purchases before making them.

“My only advice for online shoppers is to make a conscious effort to be aware of impulsive versus intentional spending,” she said. “Ask yourself: Do I really need this? Can this bring me or my loved ones a sustained level of joy? What would happen if I didn’t purchase this? Does it fit in long-term plans? Is there another option that I could consider to save money for other priorities?”

Find out the spending habits you can eliminate to avoid busting your 2019 budget.

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