Aussies more frugal than festive this year, finds latest research

Tara McCabe

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Christmas may be the season to be jolly, but as it turns out Aussies might be a lot jollier if they didn’t have to spend as much on presents.

Christmas tree, presents, piggy bank.

According to a recent report by ING, Aussies received a whopping 10 million unwanted gifts last Christmas - that’s $400 million worth of presents just lying around taking up space. It’s no wonder a large number of Aussies this year are contemplating putting a budget in place or going for more sustainable gift options.

Indeed, a survey conducted by St George Bank found that 43% of Aussies are setting a budget for spending on family and friends this year, with 31% planning to buy far less presents than they did last year. That said, Aussies don’t want to miss out on the joy of gift giving in 2019, with just a very small number of those surveyed saying they would not be giving presents to friends and family at all this year.

But General Manager for St George Bank, Ross Miller said despite good intentions Aussies may still find it hard not to break the bank this summer - especially if they have kids to buy for. 

“On average, Australian parents say they’ll splash out $255 on their children this Christmas. That’s far above what we plan to spend on our spouses and partners, which is about $165,” he said.

How do I plan for a less costly Christmas?

Now you might be reading this thinking, “but I have a plan in place” and “I would never spend that much on presents.” But of course, even the best laid plans can fall through. In fact, according to a report by buy now, pay later service Humm, four out of five Aussies consider themselves financially savvy, but only one in five actually have a strict budget and save regularly.

Choosing a gift that shows your loved ones just how much they mean to you can often be quite stressful and as a result it’s understandable that budgets may be broken or too much money could be spent on something that wasn’t entirely thought through.

In fact, as Ross said, according to St George’s survey, “a third of households would rather clean their house than deal with the stress of gift shopping.”

Of course, Christmas doesn’t have to be a stressful money pit, there are plenty of ways you can have a great time without spending a fortune on useless items for your loved ones. Here are a few tips on how to get more savvy with your gift giving this year:

  • Get crafty! You don’t have to be Picasso to muster up some lovely homemade gifts for your friends and family. Some easy options might be hand making soap for everyone or baking scrumptious cookies for all to enjoy. Or if you’re handy with a sewing machine or a pair of knitting needles, you could whip up some simple scrunchies or handkerchiefs, the possibilities are endless.
  • Reuse. On that note, don’t buy wrapping paper, instead get creative and reuse junk mail or even fancy tissue paper that you may have received something else in. You could even use bits of material, if you have some scrap pieces lying around. Plus it’s not only great for your wallet, but also for the planet, because you’ll be producing less waste!
  • Less is more. Sometimes less is more, this is especially true when it comes to present buying. So rather than spending $150 on 7 items that you’re not so sure about anyway, why not spend $70 on something that is good quality, will last and your loved one might appreciate more.
  • Give an experience, not a thing. Instead of buying 10 frilly items, that might just wind up becoming clutter, why not invest in an experience. This could be tickets to a play or a even a pottery workshop. This way, they’ll have less clutter hanging around and you can create a lovely experience to remember, together.
  • Support a good cause. Why not give a donation as a present? If you know that your loved one is passionate about saving the orangutans, then why not give a donation to them in their name. You could even plant a tree in their name! 

By taking a more sustainable approach to Christmas, you might just be able to stick within those budgets and keep your savings account nice and healthy over the festive period. 

Of course no good budget is complete without an even better savings account. Good interest rates may be hard to come by these days, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to find the best out there. A high interest savings account could help you give your savings stash that little boost it needs to get over the line to the next $100 or even $1,000. 

So with that in mind, why not check out the high interest savings accounts below and see if any of them take your fancy.

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