We’re planning to spend over $11 billion on Christmas presents this year (that’s an average of $726 each1). Seems fair after all we’ve been through.
This excludes the add-ons like the secret Santa gift at work, hosting or contributing to festivities such as Christmas and Boxing day, ‘the sales’ and December birthdays.
It’s no wonder we rack up debt. At the start of 2021, 5 million Australians are left with Christmas debt and it’s estimated that 1 in 10 of us don’t expect to pay it off for at least 12 months2. That’s one long debt hangover.
And if you’re feeling it, you’re not alone. 22% of us rely on credit cards to make ends meet and 32% of us worry about being able to manage that debt3.
Here are the top ways to minimise your Christmas costs and hangover
1. Always be on the lookout for bargains. Signing up with bargain hunters like Catch, Amazon and Kogan can save you time and money, or surf the internet regularly. Prefer stores? Show them the best online price and ask them to match it (don’t ask, don’t get!).
2. Make a list and check it twice. Write down your shopping list and set realistic spending limits for each person you intend to purchase gifts for (1 thoughtful present, not a sack full of novelty landfill). If inspiration fails, go gift cards as these can buy a lot during the Boxing day sales.
3. Share the cost. Ask everyone to bring a plate to broaden the buffet and showcase their talents. This saves you time and money, enabling you to spend more of both with family and friends.
4. Make, re-use, re-cycle, re-gift. Good for the environment and your wallet. 2 minute videos on ‘how to..’ will get you going. Pay it forward – especially for good will.
5. Pay less now. If you haven’t saved up, think carefully about using ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes such as Afterpay. It’s only a good idea if you can pay 100% of each instalment as it’s due. If you can’t you’ll be charged with a missed payment fee.
A cautionary Christmas tale
Don’t let the festivities cost you a new home. Big spending might impact what you can borrow when your bank statements are checked. Using buy now, pay later to get around it is frowned upon.
Should you need any help with your debt or saving for a home, we’ve got you covered at map my plan, accessible via Wellbeing Gateway.
Have a fantastic festive season!
Map My Plan holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (485665).
1 ARA-Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey, September 2021.
2 Finder online survey January 2021.
3 Our May 2020 Report on Financial Stress during COVID-19.