Celebration Spending Survey | The bank rate
You’ve probably experienced a canceled event in the past two years: a birthday, a wedding, a graduation. Some have predicted that years of pent-up party demand will lead to a crazy second post-pandemic year. It is true that many are finally going through rescheduled events and making up for lost time now that COVID-19 restrictions are lighter. But with record inflation and a looming recession, these celebrations are a financial burden for many.
A new Bankrate survey has revealed that 39 million Americans feel pressured to spend more than they want this year on celebratory events, such as weddings, birthdays, baby showers and graduations. And young adults feel the pressure more than older generations.
Festive Spending Survey: Key Findings
Notable findings from the April 2022 survey of 2,438 adults include:
- Declining attendance at festive events: Despite the predicted increase in weddings and other celebratory events in 2022, Americans are actually attending fewer events than in previous years. Sixty-one percent of American adults said they plan to attend at least one celebratory event this year, up from 65% in 2021.
- Young adults feel the pain the most: 28% of Gen Z and 23% of Millennials feel pressured to spend too much on an event this year. Conversely, only 5% of baby boomers feel this way.
- More men than women report feeling pressured to spend: 17% of men said they felt increased pressure to spend more on festive events this year, while only 13% of women felt the same way.
Young adults bear the cost of the booming wedding industry
After years of delays and restrictions, experts are predicting historic wedding numbers for 2022. An estimated 2.5 million Americans plan to get married this year, the most since 1984.
But as wonderful as it can be to have a wedding, especially if you’ve been waiting for years, a wedding is a financial commitment, even if you’re not at the wedding. A 2018 Bankrate survey found the average cost to attend the wedding of a close friend or family member was $627. For distant friends and family, that number has dropped to $370, which is still not a pittance.
Young adults are the largest group to attend at least one wedding in 2022, with 35% of Gen Zers and 33% of millennials planning to attend a wedding this year. Additionally, younger adults are more likely to be part of a wedding party, which adds additional expense.
And with inflation to blame for tighter budgets and more expensive goods and services, weddings this year could be a bigger financial burden than usual.
Caleb Reed, founder of TheDollarBudget.com, believes higher costs will affect all celebrations this year. “With inflation at its highest level in 40 years, spending more than you want to attend a festive event will hurt your wallet much more than it has in the past,” says Reed.
“Inflation in wedding costs is passed on from wedding vendors to customers,” he says. “Everything from wedding cakes to decorations have seen a steep price increase, and consumers are paying the difference.”
Although wedding attendees need not worry about the cost of a venue or a cake, they will need to watch out for rising gas and airfare prices, accommodation, food and drink outside the wedding, and goods they will purchase for a wedding gift.
Economic uncertainty could lead to lower attendance at celebrations
Despite the predicted increase in celebratory events, there has actually been a small drop in the number of adults planning to attend this year. Sixty-five percent of adults said they had attended at least one celebration in 2021. This year, that number fell to 61%. While 4 percentage points may seem like a small drop, that’s a difference of about 13 million people.
Economic uncertainty may be a factor in people’s reluctance to attend events this year. “The cost of fun can be overbudgeting, especially with runaway inflation,” says Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate. “It’s important to have a good plan before committing to these events, especially as expensive destination weddings and bachelorette parties are becoming more common.”
Good strategies include using credit card rewards to cover attendance costs and possibly signing up for a credit card with a 0% interest promotion if you need more time to pay off your balance. , says Rossman.
The bottom line
For most American adults, 2022 will include at least one celebratory event. With rising costs straining budgets, millions are feeling the pressure to overspend to attend these events.
The key is to plan ahead and be honest with yourself. Compile all the events on your calendar for the coming year and estimate the associated expenses for each. With hard numbers in front of you, it’s easier to decide which events to budget for and which ones you feel more comfortable skipping.
Bankrate commissioned YouGov Plc to carry out the investigation. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size was 2,438 adults. The survey was conducted from April 13 to 15, 2022.