Varo New Year’s Resolutions Survey: Americans Hoping to Save Money in 2018—but Not by Ditching Netflix

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New data reveals how much Americans plan to spend this holiday season and what guilty pleasures and fashion trends they will—and won’t—be leaving behind in the new year

Varo Money, Inc., a mobile banking startup, has released the results of its New Year’s Resolutions Survey. The survey of over 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by Propeller Insights on behalf of Varo in November 2017 determined that many Americans will be paying for the holidays well into the new year, that streaming media services are a guilty pleasure Americans can’t do without, and that many Americans identify as Millennials regardless of age. The survey also looked into what resolutions Americans are undertaking for 2018 and found that saving money is a top priority.

Paying for Xmas Until Spring—and Beyond

The holidays are upon us, and Americans are figuring out how much they can afford to spend on loved ones. More than a quarter (28 percent) of Americans will spend $250-$500 on gifts this year. Another 20 percent will spend $500-$1,000, 8 percent will spend more than $1,000, and a thrifty 43 percent plan to spend less than $250.

More than half (56 percent) of Americans will only be using one or two different credit cards to make purchases over the holidays, and only 2 percent will be using more than four. After the holidays, 46 percent of Americans say they’ll have their credit cards paid off within a month, and another 16 percent will need 1-3 months. But a full quarter of Americans (25 percent) will spend more than six months paying off their post-holiday debt.

Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of Americans say they often fail to budget properly for the holidays. Top holiday-related expenses that Americans fail to fully take into account include:

Last-minute gifts — 36 percent
Regular holiday gifts — 27 percent
Food — 27 percent
Decorations — 17 percent
New holiday outfits — 16 percent

“Money is tight for everyone around the holidays, and today’s Millennials don’t approach banking and budgeting the way they used to,” said Colin Walsh, co-founder and CEO of Varo Money. “Many Millennials are ‘hands off’—checking their balance on a weekly basis with a general idea of how much money is coming in and going out. As a result, many will find themselves dipping into savings when they accidentally overspend over the holidays; we call this a cash trap. Varo is a bank account built to help people manage their money more effectively. Varo offers integrated, personalized financial solutions that integrate banking, saving and lending products with tools to help customers smooth cash flow and build savings—all from their phones.”

New Year, New You?

Saving money is an even bigger priority than getting in shape for Americans in 2018: more than half (53 percent) of Americans—including 62 percent of Millennials—say this is will be on their list of New Year’s resolutions.

Save money — 53 percent
Lose weight or get in shape — 45 percent
Have more sex — 25 percent
Travel more — 24 percent
Read more books — 23 percent
Learn a new skill or hobby — 22 percent
Buy a house — 21 percent
Quit smoking — 16 percent
Find love — 15 percent

More than half (52 percent) of Americans say they are likely to settle down romantically in 2018, which includes 61 percent of Millennials—more than any other age group.

And while it’s true that more men (34 percent) than women (16 percent) want to have more sex in the new year, more men also want to find love (17 percent versus 12 percent) and start a family (9 percent versus 5 percent) than women. But while men are nesting, women are bringing home the bacon: saving money is a greater priority for women (56 percent) than men (48 percent) in 2018.

As for following through on New Year’s resolutions, older Americans are more doubtful of themselves: while only 7 percent of optimistic Millennials and 9 percent of Gen Xers say they are unlikely to stick with their New Year’s resolutions, about twice as many Boomers (16 percent) expect to drop the ball. Seventy-two percent of Americans say they’d be more likely to follow through on their resolution if someone did it with them.

When it comes to fashion trends that should die with 2017:

Americans most want to be rid of the “man bun” (38 percent) and unicorn hair (33 percent)
Women are particularly anxious to see the end of coffin nails (33 percent) and the thigh gap (22 percent)
Men would like to see less “manscaping” (23 percent)

Take My Take-Out, but Hands Off My Hulu

Most Americans (87 percent) admit to spending money on guilty pleasures, chief among them:

Eating out at restaurants — 42 percent
Online shopping — 33 percent
Ordering take-out and delivery — 27 percent
In-store shopping — 25 percent
Streaming entertainment services — 20 percent

The top four of these five—eating out (30 percent), dining in (23 percent) and online (21 percent) and in-store (16 percent) shopping—are also what Americans would like to spend less money on in the coming year; they also hope to spend less money going out (17 percent). However, there is one guilty pleasure Americans want to keep: only 7 percent plan to spend less money on streaming services in 2018.

Seventy-eight percent of Americans plan to make a major purchase in the new year: more than a third (34 percent) of Americans plan to buy a new car and take a major vacation (33 percent) in the coming year. Thirty-one percent of Millennials also plan to drop money on a new place to live.

And speaking of Millennials, more than half (51 percent) of 18-34 year olds don’t consider themselves to be “Millennials.” Meanwhile, a third (33 percent) of Gen Xers (35-54 year olds) and almost a quarter (24 percent) of Baby Boomers (55-64 year olds) do.

About Varo Money
Varo Money, Inc. (“Varo”), is changing the future of banking with their mobile app: a frictionless bank account offered through The Bancorp Bank that also helps customers do more with their money. Varo is building a mobile banking experience that helps customers cover their expenses, pay their bills, and build their wealth over time—so they can stop worrying about money and go live their lives. Unlike traditional banks or other fintech apps, Varo offers a complete solution with integrated deposit, budgeting, savings, and lending products that help customers bank with ease and achieve better financial outcomes. There’s no reason for a bank branch on every corner anymore: all that customers need is a smartphone to bank seamlessly. Based in San Francisco and privately held, Varo has raised $34M to date, led by Warburg Pincus. Bank accounts for Varo Money are provided by The Bancorp Bank, and deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 through The Bancorp Bank. For more information, please visit http://www.varomoney.com and follow Varo on Facebook @varomoney or Twitter @varomoney.

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