Let's Play Xmas Finance 2011: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
- The RBA have made a 25 basis point cut to the official interest rate leading up to Christmas. easing the pressure of housing costs.
- Retailers are expecting a positive Christmas season after the average credit card limit slowed b 1.5% in the past month. The long-term disciplined spending of consumers means they are more likely to loosen their belt for the festive
- Australians are expected to spend $465 each on gifts this Christmas, according to the latest Westpac consumer sentiment survey.
- Of Australians surveyed: 47% say they will spend over $500, 19% expect to spend $300 to $500 and 34% plan to spend less than $300.
- On average, a typical Aussie woman will go on 3.7 festive shopping trips in the lead-up to Christmas.
- Consumer spending has climbed for the third consecutive month, according to the RBA. The latest figures show that consumers have not put their wallets away yet, and are optimistic despite economic uncertainty in Europe.
- Total personal finance commitments fell 2.5 percent in September to $6.98 billion, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, so consumers have more money to spend over Christmas.
- According to a recent Daily Telegraph online survey, more than 40% of respondents worried about whether they could afford to put on a Christmas spread for their family.
- Christmas shopping is set to go mobile this year, with Google reporting a 220% spike in shopping searches coming from smartphones. One quarter of all Christmas related Google searches this year now come from mobile devices.
Survival guide to the silly season
- #1 Think of the consequence. Social gatherings are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to unnecessary, even unnoticed, expenses over Christmas. Before you commit to spending a fortune on dinner and drinks in December,
consider your budget in January. If your silly season spending means you can't make your rent or pay a bill or scholl feels next month, suggest a more low key celebration such as home BBQ, or skip the party all together.
- #2 Don't swipe on credit. It's tempting to do the Christmas shopping, throw it all on credit and deal with it later. Now only will you end up spending more when you add interest rates on to the bill, but you are more likely to spend
more than you can afford. Write a list of who you're buying gifts for and how much you can afford to spend on them - then pay for your gifts with cash or debit.
- #3 Use the Internet as your catalogue. Rather than walking around shopping centres full of distractions and temptations, get online and look up the items you're planning to buy. Check out where you can get the best deals before you
head out. Even better, if you can buy it online, you're saving yourself a trip to the shops, but be wary of extra costs like shipping fees and make sure you order will arrive at least a couple of few before Christmas.
- #4 Secret Santa. If it's been a tricky year financially, don't be embarrassed to let your family know that you can't spend as much this year on gifts. Secret Santa's work best when you all agree on a limit that is affordable for everyone.
It also means you can put more thought into that one gift, rather than buying several generic gifts for all your cousins that will wind up either in the bin or back under someone else's tree.
- #5 Stress less. Relax. Christmas is meant to be fun. Don't let it overwhelm you. Start planning as early as you can, use a budget and be frugal in your shopping. Remember that Christmas isn't about outgoing the present you
gave someone the year before. Christmas is a chance to spend time with your friends and family and give them something meaningful to end the year - even if it's just a homemade card.