A Christmas without presents? How Aussie gift-giving is changing

Tuesday 05 December 2017

Article by Ben Tosi

Tis’ the season of giving, or is it? That widely accepted truism is under threat after a recent survey by ME Bank revealed that Aussies aren’t all that into purchasing presents and will resort to some pretty extreme tactics to manipulate the gifting process this Christmas.

Tis’ the season of giving, or is it? That widely accepted truism is under threat after a recent survey by ME Bank revealed that Aussies aren’t all that into purchasing presents and will resort to some pretty extreme tactics to manipulate the gifting process this Christmas.

Headlining our naughtier gift-giving techniques, the survey found that almost half of us feel comfortable refunding a gift from a family member or friend, only to purchase it back during the sales season, pocketing the profit.

We’re also prepared to forgo previously-prized social situations with a third of all Aussies and about half of Gen Zs (18-24) deeming it acceptable to avoid family and friends over Christmas if it means they won’t have to buy them gifts at all.

RELATED: 5 credit card incentives to snap up in December

ME Money Expert Matthew Read says, rather than just being genuinely grinchy, Aussies are trying to avoid a santa-sized hole in their personal finances to kick off the new year.

“This survey shows how the financial pressures at Christmas may be influencing our preparedness to bend the rules around gift giving,” he said.

“Most tellingly, 83% of Australians said it would be acceptable to forego buying Christmas presents altogether in order to save money.”

RELATED: One in three Aussies are using rewards credit cards to help pay for Christmas gifts: Citi

It’s no real secret that the festive period is financially testing for a lot of Aussies with recent Mozo data revealing that, as a nation, we’ll rack up close to $30 billion in credit card spending throughout December.

And so with the average Aussie expected to end the silly season with a costly $3,700 credit card balance, it is no wonder we’re rethinking where we are putting our hard earned cash this Chrissy.

Mozo Director Kirsty Lamont says it is important to consider every gift going under the tree.

“Before you buy anything on your card, you should make sure that it is not only worth the sticker price, but if you are going to be paying it off for several months, the interest charges as well,” she said.

Mozo’s top tips to credit card spending over Christmas

  • Plan ahead: If you’re lining up a big purchase that you know you’ll be paying off well into the new year, opt for a low interest credit card over your rewards card and pay less interest over the long run.
  • Don't hit the ATM: In the midst of your Christmas shopping spree, you might need to grab some cash but make sure you’re using your debit card and avoiding the costly cash advance fees and interest rates that come if you whip out your credit card at the ATM.
  • Track your spending: Our increasingly cashless society means it can be hard to keep track of what you’re spending, especially over Christmas. Luckily you can set up alerts and notifications to be sent directly to your smartphone so you can keep track of how much you’re spending and rein it in if necessary.
  • Set up automatic payments: Gift-giving aside, we all love to unwind with friends and family over Christmas and the new year but our banks aren’t taking a break. By automating your credit card repayments from your bank account you can avoid late payment fees and minimise the amount of interest you’re being charged on your December purchases.

If you’re after a credit card to help fund the festive season or want to nab yourself a low interest option and avoid high purchase rates for your pressies, head to Mozo’s credit card comparison tables to compare a range of the most popular plastics on the market.

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