The cost of Christmas

Almost 60 percent of Queenslanders rely on credit cards to cover the cost of the festive season.

With Christmas just around the corner, new RACQ research has revealed almost 60 percent of Queenslanders rely on credit cards to cover the cost of presents and expenses over the festive season.

The survey found two out of three consumers used a credit card or loan facility to cover some or all the costs for gifts for those closest to them, rather than accessing savings or stashed away cash.

RACQ Bank spokesperson Lucinda Ross said it showed a large percentage of everyday Queenslanders couldn’t afford their holiday season costs.

“With cost of living pressures on the rise, it’s worrying almost 50 percent of us said we can’t afford the cost of Christmas comfortably and are instead putting it on credit and spending money they don’t have,” Ms Ross said. 

“It feels good to give, but this shouldn’t mean you’re putting yourself in further debt or living beyond your means to show love to family and friends.” 

The survey also revealed almost 70 percent of Queenslanders either didn’t set a Christmas budget, or couldn’t stick to it, spending more than they had planned to over the festive season.

“It’s important to think ahead, save as much as you can, stick to your budget and only spend what you can actually afford by not maxing out your available credit and loan facilities,” Ms Ross said. 

“As Christmas fast approaches, many people will be wishing they had started preparing earlier by saving or putting aside money for when it comes to crunch time. 

“We recommend sitting down and thinking about what you really need to spend money on over the festive season. 

“By creating a budget and savings plan that works for you, there’ll be less hip pocket stress and you won’t find yourself having to use credit that you’ll then need to pay back later, along with extra interest you may be charged.”

Save yourself this Christmas

  1. Make lists of what you need to buy and the food you need to prepare during the festive season. Having lists will help you plan your spending and keep you on track.
  2. Keeping track of your festive spending is the best way to avoid going over your budget. Use an app, write it down or keep track through online banking.
  3. Avoid ‘buy now, pay later’ services or putting purchases on credit cards.
  4. Shop around for the best prices for items on your list. Some stores match or beat competitors' deals, so take all the details with you when you go into the store.
  5. Start planning now for next Christmas.

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and not as specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice and does not take into account any person’s particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives, financial situations and needs.