The survey, sponsored by Think Finance, a developer of online personal financial management products, found 45 percent said they did not expect to have enough money set aside to cover holiday expenses.
Eighty-five percent said they will spend the same amount of money or less on gifts this year, with 54 percent planning to spend $500 or less and 27 percent planning to spend between $500 and $1,000 on holiday gifts.
Almost half of respondents -- 44 percent -- described their level of stress related to holiday expenses as high or extremely high.
Forty-one percent of respondents -- including 50 percent of those in the $75,000 to $99,999 income bracket and 32 percent of those earning $100,000 or more -- said they planned to utilize store layaway programs.
Approximately two-thirds of those surveyed -- 68 percent -- reported they would like to see additional financing options other than from layaway programs and store credit cards.
Half of those surveyed think they will be better off financially one year from now, while 79 percent said they were positive or neutral on the direction of the economy with the majority saying they expect it to get better.
The survey -- conducted during eight days in October -- involved of 1,000 U.S. adults across all income levels who supplement traditional bank accounts with various alternative financial services such as payday loans, prepaid debit cards and direct deposit advances. No margin of error was provided.