Upromise by Sallie Mae Survey Finds Parents Prefer Money for College over Traditional Gifts This Holiday Season

“Selfie Generation” Not Focused on Themselves: Majority of Millennial Parents More Interested in Saving for College

Last Minute Shopping Still a Thing: Quarter of All Parents Buy Gifts the Night Before

Thursday, November 5, 2015 2:57 pm EST



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@Upromise survey finds parents prefer cash for their child's college savings over the traditional gift this year.

NEWARK, Del.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With the holiday shopping season quickly approaching, Upromise by Sallie Mae surveyed parents to learn how they plan to buy gifts this year and what’s on their holiday wish lists. According to the survey, money for college is top of mind for parents, with two-thirds (68 percent) of all parents agreeing a contribution to their child’s college savings fund is the ideal gift. Of all parents, the survey found millennials prefer cash for their child’s college fund the most (78 percent).

While parents want money for college savings, more than half (57 percent) admit they aren’t comfortable asking friends or family members to contribute money toward their child’s college savings account. Almost half (43 percent) of parents did rank spending time with their children without any distractions at the top of their wish list.

“Holiday shopping tends to be one of the biggest culprits in derailing budgets for families each year,” said Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, national brand ambassador for Upromise by Sallie Mae. “Enacting simple strategies, such as setting spending limits before shopping and using rewards programs like Upromise that put money back in your pocket, can help consumers stay on track during the holidays.”

The survey of 500 parents also revealed the following holiday shopping secrets:

  • Nothing like waiting until the last minute. Approximately one quarter of surveyed parents buy all their gifts the night before. That last minute shopping may also be the reason why nearly 25 percent of parents also reported mistakenly leaving price tags on gifts.
  • Holiday shopping on a budget? Think again. More than half the survey respondents – 55 percent – said they don’t set a mutually agreed-upon budget with friends and family. Of those who do set holiday spending limits, 25 percent said they intend to exceed the pre-established limits.
  • Shopping for themselves, too. Almost half (43 percent) of parents admit to buying gifts for themselves when shopping for others during the holidays, an increase from 25 percent last year.
  • Paying with plastic. More than three quarters of parents surveyed (78 percent) plan to shop with a credit card this holiday season. That doesn’t mean those cards will be working overtime, as only 18 percent said they would use more than 25 percent of their credit limit. Men are more likely than women to buy gifts with credit cards (84 percent of men, vs. 74 percent of women).

“There is no question that college is a valuable investment– and this survey confirms that investment resonates most with millennial parents,” said David O’Connell, president, Upromise by Sallie Mae. “The good news is, with Upromise by Sallie Mae, families can also save for college while they shop for the holidays, and link their holiday spending to any college savings account.”

This holiday season, Upromise is helping families save even more for college. Every Tuesday, from now until Dec. 22, Upromise members can earn up to 15 percent cash back for college with featured partners, including Etsy, Under Armour, and Guitar Center. Last holiday season Upromise members earned more than $14 million toward college.

Free and easy to join, Upromise by Sallie Mae allows families to earn cash back for college from everyday purchases by shopping online with more than 850 partners. Cash earned may be invested in an eligible 529 college savings plan, used to help pay down an eligible student loan, transferred into an FDIC-insured Upromise GoalSaver account, or withdrawn by check. Members who have the Upromise World MasterCard earn double the percentage cash back.

To date, Upromise members have earned more than $900 million for education, more than $250 million of which has been deposited directly into 529 college savings accounts. To learn more, visit Upromise.com.

Sallie Mae (NASDAQ: SLM) is the nation’s saving, planning, and paying for college company. Whether college is a long way off or just around the corner, Sallie Mae offers products that promote responsible personal finance, including private education loans, Upromise rewards, scholarship search, college financial planning tools, and online retail banking. 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.

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Upromise by Sallie Mae Reveals Holiday Shopping Habits (Graphic: Business Wire)


Sallie Mae
Abigail Brooks, 302-451-0230