Staying merry at Christmas
THE silly season is upon us, and over the next few weeks we’ll be dipping into our wallets in the annual festive season spending spree. For many Australians it can be a period of overspending, but having an idea of your Christmas shopping style can be useful to avoid a New Year financial meltdown.
A survey by online auction site eBay has uncovered some common Aussie Christmas shopper personality types.
The first Are people who stock up on Christmas presents throughout the year. It’s a great way to spread the financial burden of the festive season over a 12-month period. Trouble is, it’s not always feasible.
As any parent will know, the toy or gadget that was such a must-have in August is just as likely to be fairly ho-hum by December. However tucking away gifts for adults through the year can be a sensible strategy.
Then there are ‘Early Bird’ shoppers, who account for around one in four of us, buying early to avoid the Christmas rush and securing the best bargains. It’s a smart way to go if you can manage it.
Setting aside time to complete your festive season shopping provides an opportunity to shop around and compare prices. It also means you have the option of putting big ticket purchases on lay-by rather than resorting to high interest credit cards.
Then there are the scrooges who don’t usually buy any Christmas presents at all. Yes, they will save money – and probably have no friends. Remember, there’s not much point being the richest person in the graveyard. Interestingly, around 7% of eBay’s respondents admit to being tightwads.
Finally there are those who make all their purchases at the last minute. Around 35% of shoppers admit to being last minute types, and not surprisingly, to me at least, the majority are blokes.
Shopping at the last minute may save time, but not necessarily money. A colleague of mine learned this lesson that hard way when she embarked on a Christmas Eve ‘dash and grab’ spending blitz. However by this late stage she found most shops had half empty shelves with only the most expensive items still up for grabs.
If you’re a last minute shopper, 2010 could be the year to buck the habit and make an earlier start on your festive season purchases – there are still some weeks left to Christmas. Also, maintain control of your spending by following Santa’s example and make a list.
Note down what you need to buy and set a spending limit for individual gifts. It’s not just a great way to avoid impulse buys, it will also help you stay within your budget.
As our collective credit card debt climbs higher, and home owners face higher loan repayments as a result of interest rate hikes, it’s vital to adopt a sensible approach to yuletide spending. The worst Christmas ‘present’ you can lumber yourself with is facing a mammoth credit card debt in January or wondering how on earth you’ll meet your next mortgage repayment.