Traditionally, the holiday season conjures a generous spirit among consumers as gift-giving becomes a priority. While the exchange of presents next to the Christmas tree is a cherished custom, it also comes with a financial burden to those who cannot afford to buy a gift for everyone within their social circles. As consumers become increasingly aware of their finances, self-gifting has become prominent.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average American is projected to spend $737.95 on holiday shopping in 2013, down from $752.24 in 2012. Another survey by Manilla finds that 43.2 percent of Americans don’t plan on changing their spending habits this year.

“Consumers have had years of practice when it comes to managing tight budgets while still spending on items they need to, whether it be gifts or groceries for the family,” said Pam Goodfellow, consumer insights director at Prosper Insights (commissioned by the NRF), in prepared remarks.

While consumers find ways to maximize their limited budgets, self-gifting is on top of their minds, according to two separate surveys from Capital One and Chase.

According to a Capital One survey, 57 percent of Americans are likely to budget for a gift for themselves this holiday season.

In a Chase holiday spending survey, 90 percent of respondents said “it’s important to treat yourself.”

Regardless of what one’s gift-giving plans may be, it’s always recommended to approach holiday shopping with a financial strategy, in order to avoid starting the new year in debt.

“The holiday season can cause people to step outside of their usual money management habits, reinforcing the notion that smart spending and borrowing habits are more important than ever at this time of the year,“ said Tom O’Donnell, senior vice president at Chase, in a press statement. “Whether spending on yourself or others, it’s important to do it mindfully and with a plan in place.”

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