St.George says Aussies have the ‘holiday blues’ - but there may be a plastic cure

It’s supposedly the happiest time of the year, but data from St.George has revealed that Australians are suffering from the ‘holiday blues’, thanks to high holiday rates, an increase in grocery bills and the struggle to afford Christmas presents.

In fact, in order to meet the demand for Christmas spending, 1 in 5 Aussie households are selling their belongings or using Secret Santa.

Ross Miller, General Manager for Retail Banking at St.George, believes that these drastic savings tactics are due to a lack of budgeting and planning.

“More than a third of families are leaving it to the last minute to start saving, which is perhaps why they are feeling the pinch,” he said.

However, 23% of Aussies were found to take their Christmas Day very seriously, developing a year-long savings plan to avoid December stress, while 28% said they started their shopping in July.

RELATED: Why Mozo thinks your credit card might be the best way to pay for Christmas

But Miller stated that your bank account doesn’t have to take a beating this Christmas as long as you practise simple savings hacks on a weekly basis.

“Our research found $543 was the average spent on Christmas gifts alone, but more than a third said they would spend an up to $2000 over the entire season. So placing even $10-$20 away in a separate account each week, for example, may provide immense relief come November.”

One of the more striking claims from the report was the 16% of Aussies who said they would willingly charge Christmas to their credit card which Mozo Director, Kirsty Lamont, said may be a cause for concern for financially unprepared Australians.

“The majority of Australians are financially unprepared for Christmas with a whopping $29 billion predicted to be charged credit cards this silly season. For many households, turning to loans or credit cards may seem the only option, but choosing the wrong credit card can add 25% to the cost of Christmas,” she said.

Lamont believed that opting for an interest-free credit card with a $68 application fee could cushion the financial blow this festive season, as long as the balance was paid off before the interest-free period ends.

But it wasn’t just the pressure of getting presents under the tree dampening Christmas spirit. Peak holiday rates were said to be the biggest pet peeve amongst 25% of Aussies, with only 10% reporting to have booked their holiday 6 months in advance.

“We would encourage such families to be realistic about their holiday expenses and talk to their financial institution about setting up a dedicated savings plan a year in advance,” concluded Miller.

In need of a interest-free plastic miracle to help you through the festive season? Mozo’s credit card comparison tool compares some of the latest deals on interest-free credit cards.