Sensible spending is top of the Christmas wish list

December 13, 2012
David Wilson

More than half of Australians plan to cut back on their expenditure this festive season with sensible spending top of mind, according to a recent survey undertaken by Australia’s largest independently-operated mortgage broker, Mortgage Choice.  

The company’s annual Consumer Sentiment Survey asked 1,025 Australians how their spending habits this Christmas and festive season will compare to last year. The results show 43% plan to spend about the same and 5% plan to spend more, while 52% intend to spend less.   

Mortgage Choice Greensborough franchise owner, Hannah Fox said, “Our research shows that while the majority of Australians are struggling to cope financially with the rising cost of living*, a surprising 43% of survey respondents intend to spend the same amount during the Christmas and holiday period as they did last year, while one in 20 plan to increase their budget.”  

“However, for the majority of Australians it is shaping up to be turkey without all the trimmings this year, as 52% of survey respondents try to cut back on their spending this silly season. Of those who are planning to reduce their expenses, 68% will spend less on gifts, 20% intend to cut back on going out and 12% will set aside a smaller budget for food and beverages.”  

Hannah noted that the holiday period can be a time of lax spending and said that the survey was a timely reminder to keep this in check.  

“We all know that December and January can be very expensive months so it is pleasing to see many Australians planning ahead to spend sensibly in the festive season and start the New Year without any financial hangover,” said Hannah.  

“Interestingly, our recent annual Consumer Sentiment Survey also found that for 35% of Australians, a $2,000 windfall would be best added to their savings, 23% said they would pay down their credit card debt, 20% would be inclined to spend it at this time of year and wrapping up the top five responses, 17% said they would contribute the money to their mortgage.”  

Here are Hannah’s top sensible spending tips to help you through the silly season:  

  • Build a financial buffer throughout the year in preparation for the festive season. By repaying your home loan above the minimum amount and contributing more when you can, you may be able to redraw the additional funds in times of need.     
  • Revisit your purchases from last year and make a list of everything that was left over or unused. Use this information this year to create a well throughout, detailed shopping list before you arrive at the shopping centre. This will help you stick to the plan and save you time and money spent on unnecessary items.   
  • Introduce secret Santa and/or set a budget for each person’s gift. This will help to limit your expenses and encourage you to shop for a better suited and well priced gift rather than the first, convenient and possibly more expensive thing you see.   
  • Budget for next year while everything is fresh in your mind. Start preparing your budget now, making sure to include expenses for food, beverages, outings and gifts, along with your general outgoings including any home or other loan repayments and utility bills. Decide now what you can prepay or do without next year.   
  • Stick to the wish list and carry on spending sensibly over the long term to make next year’s festive season easier on the wallet, giving you more freedom to enjoy the time with your family and friends. 
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