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How are Australians spending money this Christmas? CHOICE releases nationally representative data

Plus, our top tips for cutting costs this festive season.

Last updated: 29 November 2022

Consumer group CHOICE has released new nationally representative data revealing how people are spending their money this Christmas season.

CHOICE's survey found: 

  • 31% haven't thought about how they will fund extra expenses this Christmas.
  • 43% admit they find it hard to stick to a budget when it comes to Christmas spending. 
  • Just 59% of people will be buying gifts. 
  • Food and drink is the most common expense not including presents  - 71% say that's what they'll be spending their money on this festive season.
  • Over a third of Australians (34%) told us they plan to spend less for Christmas this year than last. Of those, 60% say it's because cost of living increases mean they have less to spend. 

"Although Christmas is typically depicted as a joyous time of year, it can also be a major source of financial stress for many people. The cost of presents and entertaining family and friends means many people struggle during the festive season," says CHOICE Editorial Director, Marg Rafferty. 


"However, there are some simple things people can do to save money at this time of year. CHOICE experts have put together their top tips for saving money this Christmas - on everything from saving money at the supermarket to buying cheaper gifts," says Rafferty. 

CHOICE's top tips for saving money this Christmas: 


1. Switch to cheaper brands and shop for specials 

"CHOICE's expert testing has found that supermarket homebrand products have improved in quality in recent years, occasionally even outdoing national brands in our taste tests. If you're shopping for Christmas lunch groceries, check our CHOICE's reviews and see if you can switch to a cheaper product that tastes better," says Rafferty. 

"Creating a budget, writing a shopping list and shopping around for specials can also make a big difference when it comes to saving money at the supermarket this Christmas," says Rafferty.  

2. Get creative with Christmas gifts

"Christmas presents can quickly add up, but there's a few things you can do if your budget is tight this year. Instead of pricey gifts, try giving meaningful experiences. A trip to the movies on a discounted day or teaching someone how to cook your favourite recipe are both good options," says Rafferty.  

3. Avoid using Buy Now, Pay Later schemes 

"Steer clear of using Buy Now, Pay Later schemes to cover the cost of Christmas. These schemes can create potential debt traps for people who are already struggling financially," says Rafferty.If you're struggling with debt or your finances this Christmas, the National Debt Helpline offers free, confidential financial counselling. You can contact them by calling 1800 007 007.  

How did we conduct our survey? 

CHOICE's survey aimed to gain insights into consumers' Christmas spending plan in light of the rising cost of living pressures. Fieldwork period for this survey was 4-7 November, 2022.The final sample size of this survey was n=1000.The data has been weighted to ensure it is representative of the Australian population based on the 2016 ABS Census data based on age, gender and location.

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