Four in 10 consumers avoided holiday shopping due to financial strain

Due to high unemployment and cost of living expenses, many Americans cut back their planned holiday shopping last month. In fact, according to a new poll, times were so difficult for some consumers that some didn't plan to shop for gifts at all.

The survey, conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, found that 40 percent of respondents said they didn't intend to do any type of holiday shopping, fearing they may encounter further financial distress in the future.

This finding comes despite numerous reports and analyses that Cyber Monday and Black Friday were record-breaking days for retailers across the country.

"Historically, consumers have put aside their financial concerns during the holidays, even if to their detriment, and spent at some level," said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC. "These figures provide a snapshot of the desperate situation in which consumers find themselves, and how seriously they are taking their situation."

Financial difficulties can be exacerbated if unfair or inaccurate marks are left on consumers' financial histories, as these can unfairly lower credit scores, making even simple payments difficult.