Finance Your Budget Worried about overspending this Christmas? These tips will help

Worried about overspending this Christmas? These tips will help

More than 8 million Australians are expected to shop this year's Black Friday Sales. Photo: Getty
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New research has revealed more than eight million Australians plan to take advantage of Black Friday sales this Christmas, prompting warnings about household debt.

The ING survey found that 8.3 million Australians were planning to buy goods over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping weekend (November 27-30), including an estimated 2.86 million Australians shopping the sales for the first time.

Clothes were at the top of the wish list, with 50 per cent of survey respondents saying they were hoping to snap up some new threads during the sales, followed by Christmas presents (48 per cent), tech (43 per cent), toys (23 per cent), and travel (13 per cent).

“Value for money matters more now than it has in a long time, so it makes sense that so many Aussies are planning ahead and using the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to shop for gifts and important upcoming events,” said George Thompson, head of daily banking at ING Australia.

Amid warnings of an expected rise in business insolvencies as the federal government winds back its stimulus, the survey provides some reassuring news for struggling business owners.

A third of respondents said they were planning to buy goods from an Australian retailer, while a quarter said they saw the sales as a chance to ‘give back’ to struggling local businesses.

And the research comes after a string of promising economic data.

The hospitality industry is putting on more staff as restrictions ease. Photo: AAP

Consumer confidence last week recovered to its highest level since February on the back of promising vaccine developments and Victoria’s successful containment of COVID-19.

And ABS data shows retail turnover in October was 7.3 per cent higher than the same time last year.

Combined with promising transaction data from NAB and consumer surveys by Westpac, the ABS figures will have lifted the spirits of our pandemic-weary retailers.

But finance experts are warning shoppers against taking on debt and overspending.

Shoppers should plan their Christmas shopping to avoid taking on debt. Photo: Getty

How to avoid taking on debt

Claudio Mazzarella, ME Bank’s general manager of personal banking, said it was prudent to manage our spending carefully during such uncertain times.

He advised drawing up a Christmas budget before the festive shopping season starts in earnest, one that allocates “sensible amounts for presents plus all the trimmings like food and drinks”.

“Aim for gifts that will be truly valued,” he said, noting that three in 10 Australians receive gifts they don’t want.

As for other money-saving tips, Mr Mazzarella recommends organising a Kris Kringle or Secret Santa; asking lunch guests to contribute their own dish to Christmas lunch; and spreading out your present buying over several weeks to avoid a debt-fuelled, last-minute dash.

Quick tips

  • Make a shopping list and stick to your budget
  • Only buy thoughtful gifts. Unappreciated presents will hurt your bank balance and potentially your relationships
  • If you are hosting lots of people for lunch, consider asking each guest to bring a dish. People like to contribute
  • Protect yourself from scams: Visit the retailer’s site directly, never skim-read emails, don’t share information with unknown sources, and be attentive to changes on your mobile phones. (Find more information here)
  • Consider buying gifts locally. Small business owners have had a hell of a year
  • Avoid a last-minute dash. That way, you’re less likely to spend beyond your means and resort to credit cards or buy-now-pay-later services.