Rein in your Christmas spending
SOPHIE ELSWORTH SHOPPING mayhem will put many Australians under pressure as they rush to fill their festive stockings, with only three weeks before Christmas.
To help avoid a blowout, we have compiled a checklist on how to rein in your spending while also ensuring you have a jolly good Christmas. 1 BUDGET
New data from debt solutions agency Fox Symes found Australians’ Christmas budget will hit a whopping $13.2 billion, or about $680 each.
Fox Symes executive director Deborah Southon said “the only way we can get through Christmas is to be very disciplined”.
“We must set a budget at the very beginning, otherwise you will be one of those people who, come January, will find you are unable to meet your credit card bills,” she said.
“The minute you shop with credit you are spending money that you don’t have and you have to pay it back.”
Mother of three Jo Wilson said she had a separate Christmas Club account and tucked away $50 a month.
“We spend about $500 each per child, so we just top up the amount at the end of the year,” she said. 2 SHOPPING LIST Check with family and friends to see if you can cut back on presents. Secret Santa is a good option so you are not left buying token presents.
National Australia Bank state general manager (SA/NT) Gregg Harris recommended writing a list.
“Make a list of people and what you’d like to buy for them, as it can help avoid last-minute impulse purchases which blow the budget,” he said. 3 LOOK FOR SPECIALS
Retailers have already rolled out plenty of discount deals at Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, but don’t worry if you have missed out because there are always plenty of pre-Christmas sales.
Mr Harris said it was vital shoppers searched for the best deals before buying anything.
“Research can be done by collecting catalogues, checking stores’ websites and by comparing online prices with in-store prices,” he said.
Ms Wilson said she was always hunting for good deals. “Junk mail is great; I use that and look through catalogues to find the cheapest price,” she said. 4 ONLINE SHOPPING
The ease of shopping 24/7 has made it seamless to spend up big, but Ms Southon warned shoppers to have restraint when buying online.
“Online shopping is always available, the risk is exponential and much greater than an actual shop,” she said. “Before you press the button to say ‘buy’ or ‘add to cart’, stop, close the site and think about it.” Shoppers should also be wary of postage costs.
BAGGING A BARGAIN: Well-prepared Christmas shopper Jo Wilson with daughter Evie, 6, flanked by sons Phoenix, 14, and Fynn, 17.