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After another year of restrictions and lockdowns, Australians are upbeat about 2021 Christmas and celebration spending. With a clear plan and clever budgeting, it doesn’t have to leave you with a 2022 financial hangover.
Despite the ongoing economic impact of coronavirus, forecasts show Australians are set to spend more than $11 billion on presents during the 2021 Christmas trading period.1
Gift buyers are expected to spend an average of $726 each, with 79% saying they’ll spend the same or more than they did last year, according to a survey of more than 3,000 consumers by the Australian Retailers Association in conjunction with Roy Morgan.
In a sign of a consumer economy on the move, overall pre-Christmas spending is forecast to hit $58.8 billion, virtually unchanged from last year, but up 11.3% on pre-pandemic 2019.2
While it may be tempting to see out 2021 by spending up big, there can be better ways to start the new year than dealing with holiday-season overspending.
Boost your festive finances by selling items you no longer want online, in a garage sale, or at a local buy-swap-sell. Cashing in on items like clothes, books, jewellery, furniture, or sporting equipment can make way for the new.
The items you no longer want could also be just the gift someone else is looking for this Christmas, so it’s a win-win.
Lists are great guard rails to help keep you on track.
Make a list for presents and how much you want to spend per person.
A list for entertainment, including food and drinks, may also be helpful to keep a check on spending.
Australians’ shopping habits continue to shift online and include international sales events.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now even bigger than Boxing Day sales.3
While you are likely to find a bargain in the sales, you may want to consider supply chain and shipping impacts of the pandemic if you are shopping online for Christmas.
Making lists and budgets aren’t particularly effective if you don’t keep an eye on the money going out.
Keeping track of your festive spending is the best way to avoid going over your holiday season budget.
Use an app, write it down, or keep track through your online banking.
When the Christmas decorations have been packed away, festive season debt may linger long enough to impact you throughout 2022. So, be careful with your credit card at Christmas.
According to Reserve Bank of Australia statistics,4 there was around $35.5 billion in retail payments outstanding on credit and charge cards in Australia at August 2021.
Buy Now Pay Later options, such as Afterpay, operate without a service fee for customers who pay on time.
Buy Now Pay Later may be a great way to spread big costs out over time, but you still need to ensure the cost is within your budget.
Other tips that may help you manage Buy Now Pay Later spending include:
When you have checked everything off your list, it is time to stop shopping.
Try to avoid stopping by the shopping centres for any last-minute pick-ups or just to see what the shops might have.
If you can’t resist being part of the hustle and bustle of last-minute, late-night shopping, plan and budget for stocking stuffer purchases for this time.
You will get your shopping fix, buy something you need, and not blow the budget.
The period immediately after the holidays may be the perfect time to check over your budget and make plans for the new year. How did you do? Did you stay within budget? Were there places you could have cut back?
The days following Christmas are also synonymous with sales. This might be a chance for you to get a jump start on your next Christmas. This may be so much easier if you’ve budgeted accordingly.
As a QSuper member you have access to online financial advice. Personal financial advice may help you save money right now, build a better future retirement, protect what you have and set strategic goals.
Find out more
1. Media Release, 12 September 2021, Countdown to Christmas - Australians set to spend over $11 billion on gifts, Roy Morgan at roymorgan.com
2. Media Release, 21 October 2021, Pre-Christmas retail trade for 2021 predicted to remain steady year-on-year at $58 billion, Roy Morgan at roymorgan.com
3. Richard, A, 20 October 2021, Choice magazine, Everything you need to know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021, at choice.com.au
4. Reserve Bank of Australia, 7 October 2021, Statistics: Retail payments August 2021, at rba.gov.au
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