Aussies to rein in spending on gifts and travel this Christmas

By Katherine O'Chee ·

New research shows Christmas this year will be unlike any other, with popular silly season activities like gifts shopping and international travel set to take a backseat.

The survey conducted by Pureprofile with 577 Australians found 10% won’t be buying any presents at all in 2020, which is almost double the number last year (6%). 

Fewer people are also planning to spend over $500 on gifts - 20% compared to 30% in 2019. 

On the receiving side of things, there’s a similar story of more respondents wanting no gifts (18%, up from 10% in 2019) and far fewer wanting luxury items such as clothing and shoes (down 12%), jewellery (down 11%) and technology (down 8%). 

Instead, it’s practical gifts like money and gift cards that have topped many people’s wish lists, with 48% and 40% of respondents respectively saying they would prefer to receive those as presents.

Pureprofile’s chief executive, Martin Filz says the results aren’t surprising, given how tight finances have been for many families. 

“We’re a population struggling with the new normal caused by COVID-19 this Christmas. We’re watching our wallets and only spending money that we are absolutely certain we have,” he said. 

A large number of Australians are also keen to support their local businesses this Christmas, with 39% saying they plan to purchase their gifts from Aussie-based retailers.

But that’s not the only thing that Australians are intending to do locally. The report also reveals with international travel still off the table, 82% of Australians are considering intrastate trips or ‘staycations’ instead. Had it not been for COVID-19, this number would have sat at a much lower 24%.

Money saving tips for Christmas shoppers

With COVID-19 leaving many Australians in a financially challenging spot, chances are you may not have much budget left for Christmas presents. But if you’re determined to give all your family and friends nice festive gifts this year while still staying within your means, here are a few money tips to help you out:

  • Go big on discounts: If there’s one rule to saving money, it’s to never pay full price. Shop around on bargain websites like OzBargain and Groupon, or turn on browser extensions like Honey at checkout in case there are any last minute discounts you can apply to your purchases. You could also set alarms for big sale dates, such as the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday (29-30 November) where prices could drop quite significantly. Read our guide for more tips on how to snag discounts online.
  • Avoid pesky fees: If you’re ordering your gifts from overseas stores, it’s important to make sure you’re using a credit or debit card with zero foreign exchange fees. Depending on the provider these fees could go as high as 3.65% per transaction, but all it takes is a simple switch to a 0% FX fee card to avoid this hefty charge.
  • Opt for DIY: It’s time to put your ‘self-iso’ hobbies of sewing or baking into use. DIY gifts may take a little more effort on your part but they cost almost nothing to make, plus who could say no to baked treats or a personalised handmade card?
  • Earn interest on your stash: There may be only a couple of months left until Christmas but you can continue making the most of your cash savings by parking them inside a high interest savings account where you’d be able to earn a few extra bucks in the meantime. Despite multiple deposit rate cuts in recent times, intro savings rates (which last for a few months) in the Mozo database still go as high as 1.90% right now.*

Read our article for a clearer idea of what’s a ‘good’ savings account rate these days, or scroll down below for a list of high interest options.

Compare high interest savings accounts - last updated December 06, 2020

Search promoted savings accounts below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure.

  • mozo-experts-choice-2020

    1.35% p.a. (for $0 to $250,000)

    0.15% p.a.(for $0 and over)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Bonus rate when at least $20 is deposited each month and five Visa Debit transactions are made each month using linked Everyday or Glide transaction accounts.

  • 1.30% p.a. (for $1 to $100,000)

    0.65% p.a.(for $1 and over)

    Yes up to $250,000

    bonus rate for 4 months

  • 0.90% p.a. (for $0 to $250,001)

    0.01% p.a.(for $0 to $5,000,000)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Minimum deposit of $200 and no withdrawals in the month.

  • mozo-experts-choice-2020

    1.05% p.a. (for $1 to $250,000)

    0.05% p.a.(for $1 and over)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Ongoing bonus rate applied if in the previous month $1,000 or more is credited to the linked Day2Day Plus account and 5 eligible transactions are made by the linked account.

  • 1.10% p.a. (for $0 to $1,000,000)

    0% p.a.(for $0 and over)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Make 5 or more successful card purchases per calendar month using your Up debit card and digital wallets (ATM transactions excluded).


*The Rabobank High Interest Savings Account currently offers a four-month introductory rate of 1.90%.

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Savings Accounts Awards

Mozo provides general product information. We don't consider your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and we aren't recommending any specific product to you. You should make your own decision after reading the PDS or offer documentation, or seeking independent advice.

While we pride ourselves on covering a wide range of products, we don't cover every product in the market. If you decide to apply for a product through our website, you will be dealing directly with the provider of that product and not with Mozo.

Katherine O'Chee
Money writer

Katherine O’Chee is Mozo’s international money transfer and forex expert and business banking writer. She keeps Mozo’s readers on top of the latest news and writes in-depth features to inform and help Australians make smarter financial decisions. Her work has been published in major media outlets including Sydney Morning Herald, SBS News and Bangkok Post. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) from the University of Sydney.