The Holidays seem like they were forever ago as most Americans have returned to the regimented daily grind, but some consumers may find that they are feeling a financial aftermath of their holiday spending. Chase Card Services surveyed 800 adults before and after the holidays to see how their spending correlated with their budgeting.

Chase Card Services, a division of JPMorgan Chase & Co., wanted to take a deeper look at consumers and their spending habits around the holiday season to learn how to better help Americans manage their money with Chase Blueprint. Chase Blueprint was introduced in September 2009 as a free online tool to help Chase card customers set up payment goals for paying off credit card bills and managing everyday spending.

Consumers with the Most Optimism, Feel Most in Control

Chase looked at variety of factors when conducting their survey, including; economic improvement, individual financial improvement and feelings of control. The researchers interviewed 800 U.S. adults from 11/2/2010 to 11/4/2010 and then the same group was re-interviewed from 1/14/2011 to 1/19/2011. The answers where then compared to actual spending habits of the individuals interviewed— this is where Chase found a discrepancy.

There is a sense of optimism attached to feeling in control of finances, 71 percent of respondants who believe they are in control of their finances are optimistic. Similarly, 69 percent of those who are optimistic about their finances also indicated that they are in control. The reason for these positive sentiments: Americans are predisposed to be excessively optimistic, according to Dr. Hersh Shefrin, an expert on behavioral finance. The dangers of being overly optimistic when it comes to the economy, as well as personal finances, is that an increase in optimism can also lead to an increase in unnecessary spending.

Chase found that Americans spent nearly 20 percent over the amount they said they would during the holidays and 12 percent  of American’s who truly believed they followed their budget actually ended up overspending.

“While it is clear that Americans are increasingly optimistic about their finances, it is even more clear that consumers need support in turning their intended financial behavior into reality,” Says Caryn Kaiser, general Manager of Chase Blueprint.

It is all about setting budgets and sticking to them. As the survey shows, having a positive attitude towards your finances doesn’t necessarily imply that you are completely in control. Personal Finance tools such as Blueprint help consumers set goals, and see the future of their finances. Blueprint does the calculations for you and sends reminders and alerts for when payments need to be made. Kaiser said this service is provided to Chase customers not only in attempts to strengthen their longevity with the company, but also to help America get out of debt.

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