Big spending out, steady and savvy saving are in this holiday season, according to Upromise by Sallie Mae survey

60 percent of parents prefer more meaningful gifts for kids

Monday, November 21, 2011 8:08 am EST

Dateline:

NEWARK, Del.

Public Company Information:

NASDAQ:
SLM
"Holiday giving can be a stressful time—as can saving for college—and Upromise.com offers simple solutions to both."

American parents report they anticipate holiday budgets similar to last year and most will stretch their spending by shopping early and looking for deals, according to a survey of parents conducted by Upromise by Sallie Mae. When asked to identify their shopping persona, 33 percent of parents indicated they are Slow and Steady with Savvy Savers a close second at 30 percent. Black Friday Bargain Shoppers represent 22 percent, Under the Wires 11 percent, and Big Spenders are a rarity this year at 4 percent.

Many parents prefer practical presents for their children such as clothing (54 percent) and gift certificates (43 percent) or meaningful gifts of money for college (34 percent). In fact, 60 percent said they sometimes worry their kids get too much stuff and would prefer they received gifts that are more meaningful.

“We’re helping to make the season more meaningful for parents of five year olds and freshmen alike by making it easier to save more for college while gift-giving,” said David Coppins, president of Upromise, a service of Sallie Mae, the nation’s No. 1 financial services company specializing in education. “Holiday giving can be a stressful time—as can saving for college—and Upromise.com offers simple solutions to both.”

Last year, Upromise members saved $12 million for college during the holidays by making purchases through Upromise.com. This year, Upromise has made it even easier with extra cash back and discounts at hundreds of major retailers. For the 41 percent of parents who plan to shop with a credit card with rewards, the Upromise World MasterCard, through Dec. 31, 2011, offers card holders the ability to earn 11 percent cash back for college on eligible online purchases through Upromise.com. Information about rates, fees, other costs and benefits associated with the Upromise credit card is available at upromise.com/cardcenter.

Nearly half of parents surveyed plan to spend the same amount as last year (49 percent), followed by 34 percent who plan to reduce spending. Of those cutting back, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) are doing so to reduce debt and cover bills, while 34 percent are building up a rainy day fund, closely followed by saving for college (33 percent) and retirement (25 percent).

Eight out of 10 younger parents, under age 34, plan to save with online deals, coupons and free shipping compared to only six out of 10 parents age 45 or older. Crafty gift givers plan to spread holiday cheer by making their own gifts (21 percent) and nearly 10 percent will re-gift past presents.

The study surveyed 500 Americans with children ages 18 or under in October 2011.

Sallie Mae (NASDAQ: SLM) is the nation’s No. 1 financial services company specializing in education. Celebrating 40 years of making a difference, Sallie Mae continues to turn education dreams into reality for American families, today serving 25 million customers. With products and services that include 529 college savings plans, Upromise rewards, scholarship search and planning tools, education loans, insurance, and online banking, Sallie Mae offers solutions that help families save, plan, and pay for college. Sallie Mae also provides financial services to hundreds of college campuses as well as to federal and state governments. Learn more at SallieMae.com. Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

Contact:

Sallie Mae
Deborah Hohler, 617-454-6741