Families pressured to “spend money they don’t have” during decades-high inflation

For thousands of Mid-South families, this could be the most challenging holiday shopping season in years.

“There is this social pressure and this commercial pressure on families to spend, spend, spend,” said Elena Delavega, a professor who studies poverty at the University of Memphis. “Spend money that they don’t have.”

According to this survey, 60% of American families are living paycheck to paycheck.

“It hurts for a family to not be able to give their kids what they want to give them,” Delavega said. “It is really painful to have one’s children suffer.”

According to this Gallup poll, Americans plan to spend an average of $932 on gifts this year.

“Everything is so expensive,” said Willie Smith, a father who drove from Jackson, Tennessee to take advantage of the deals at Tanger Outlets. “It was worth the drive to come here and take advantage of these sales.”

Smith said he was grateful to not have to put any purchases on credit.

“Prices are breaking me,” said Lee Cole, who was shopping for his siblings at the Outlets on Wednesday. “I mean, everything’s high.”

Last week, FOX13 calculated exactly how much debt the average credit user will pay on $1,000 worth of debt.

$1,000 debt on a 19.04% APR

Months to pay off:

1 month

6 months

12 months

Debt plus interest: