100 days to go: Christmas countdown tips to ease festive budget squeeze

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  • With just 100 days until Christmas, Australians can plan ahead to ease the squeeze on their festive budgets.
  • Australians splurged more than $70 billion on holiday trade last year, but spending has begun to shift to earlier online sales in November rather than last-minute shopping in December.
  • Inflation has eased but cost-of-living concerns have increased compared to this time last year.

With 100 days to go until Christmas, Australians can ease the squeeze of festive spending by bolstering their budgets, leaning on loyalty programs, and taking advantage of early sales to get a bargain.

Last year, Australians splurged more than $70 billion on holiday spending. Data from NAB Economics reveals a subtle but important shift towards earlier shopping in 2022 as Australians seized on November sales instead of a last-minute December rush, with the trend expected to continue this year.

NAB Personal Banking executive Alan Machet said the early reminder of the festive season countdown was a great opportunity to continue a trend of ‘thoughtful spending’ and beat the rush without breaking the budget.

“It’s hard to believe Christmas is only 100 days away so now is the time to plan ahead and bolster your budget so the cost-of-living pinch doesn’t turn into a Christmas grinch,” Mr Machet said.

“While inflation has continued to trend down since late last year, it’s still running higher than people might be used to, which means Christmas shopping will likely be a little more expensive this year than it was last year.

“The good news is that we’re seeing a shift in spending behaviour and more Australians starting their shopping earlier to grab a bargain in sales including Black Friday, and we expect to see that behaviour continue.”

Amid increasing prices, Australians have become more conscious of how and where they’re spending their money. NAB Economics data reveals a big shift in consumers buying Australian made and supporting local business over the past year, with both jumping by more than 30%.

“People are using their purchasing power to prioritise supporting their community and the holiday season is a great time to continue to buy local and support small businesses,” Mr Machet said.

 

Top tips to ease the squeeze on festive budgets include:

  • Lean on loyalty: Australians have billions of reward points banked up which can be redeemed over the festive season.  NAB insights reveal a 120% jump since last year in people choosing to cash in their points for a gift card.
  • Take advantage of early sales: retail spending rose 2.4% in November last year, reflecting Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and Australians are expected to spend up on tech, beauty, home and fashion.
  • Consider delivery timelines: getting in early means you’ll have all your shopping done and delivered in plenty of time and many retailers offer cheaper delivery that might take a little longer.
  • Set a budget, goal and buffer: Australians have used recent interest rate pauses to begin to rebuild their savings buffers. This time last year, 22% of all active goals in the NAB App aimed to save money for the festive season, with an average savings target of $4,300 by Christmas Eve.

 

Monthly inflation has dropped from 8.4% last Christmas to 4.9% recently, however NAB Economics data reveals consumer concerns over cost of living have continued to rise from late last year through 2023.

“While Australians have been feeling the pinch from a rising cost-of-living, they’ve become much closer to their finances than they’ve been in a long time, which has been great to see, and this puts them in a strong position as we countdown to Christmas,” Mr Machet said.

 

The detail:

  • Spending insights sourced from NAB Economics Monthly Data Insights from October 2022, November 2022 and December 2022.
  • Consumer concerns over cost of living sourced from NAB Economics Consumer Sentiment Surveys of around 2,000 Australians (Q2 2023 and Q4 2022).
  • Holiday trade data sourced from ARA and monthly inflation data sourced from RBA.
  • The top three redeemed gift cards from NAB Rewards were Coles $100, Woolworths $100, and Woolworths $50.

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