The 12 days of Christmas – a dozen ways to save this spending season



Australians are well on their way to spending more than $50 billion ahead of Christmas this year, according to new NAB economics analysis.

It can be revealed modelling estimates Aussies will spend between $50.8 billion and $53.6 billion in the six weeks leading up to December 25.

With the spending season in full swing and Christmas less than four weeks away, consumers are out in force buying presents, food, alcohol, holidays and decorations ahead of the big day.

NAB Group Executive Personal Banking Rachel Slade said the festival season could be an expensive time of year.

“No one wants to be a Grinch at Christmas, but it’s easy to overspend,” Ms Slade said.

“How much we’re spending can be the last thing we think of and, often, we only realise the full amount when we’re out of holiday mode and back at work.

“We know customers want to have more control of their money and NAB’s budgeting and planning tools can help manage festive finances to avoid a holiday hangover.”

Here’s 12 ways to save this spending season.

1.       Know your (s)elf

It’s often dubbed the most wonderful time of year but think about what Christmas means to you and why. Taking some time to know your (s)elf is a great place to start before you even think about channelling your inner Santa with a list or setting a budget.

2.       Make a list and check it twice

It’s estimated waste increases by 30% at Christmas so do your bit for the environment and your budget and make a list. As well as presents for your nearest and dearest, factor in group gifts, Kris Kringles, wrapping paper, postage and decorations. Plan your festive feast in detail so you don’t over cater and throw food out.

3.       Set a budget

Even if you’ve avoided budgets in the past, you (candy) cane do it! You could identify how much you’ve got and want to spend per person or by category. Don’t discount homemade gifts, practical presents, experiences and the gift of time through babysitting or cooking dinner for a loved one.  Don’t feel you have to spend every dollar you’ve allocated. If you see a great $60 gift when you’d planned to spend $75, bank the $15 difference or reallocate it.

4.       Save and spruce

Track your spending in NAB internet banking or download your statements to identify where you’re spending and if there are any areas where you can reduce and save.

5.       Know your shopping style

Think about if you’re more likely to overspend when you’re in a store and feeling Santa-mental. Or are you more likely to go overboard online where you can’t physically see what you’re buying and keep adding items to your shopping (cart) sleigh?

6.       Max out your loyalty

Rewards points from a NAB credit card, supermarket rewards programs or cashback accounts can be used to buy gifts and reduce the amount of money you need to spend.

7.       Work out how you plan to pay

Credit, debit, cash – the ways to pay for Christmas shopping are endless. Know your approach before you start so you’re less likely to deviate. If you’re using credit, calculate the impact on your future budget as you pay items off.

8.       Bag a bargain

Signing up to email newsletters and following your favourite businesses on social media is a great way to receive discount codes, especially for first time purchasers. You might be able to access corporate discounts on products and gift cards through your work or existing memberships and service providers. Use old gift cards you’ve got lying around to fund purchases. Don’t forget to factor in shipping, especially if you’re only buying one item from a shop, and time if you’re racing from store to store. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement so remember it’s only a bargain if it’s on the list.

9.       Give the gift of financial literacy

Gifts of money from family and friends are a great opportunity to talk with your children. Teaching them good money habits will set them up for how to save and spend in a digital world.  NAB has accounts for whatever age and stage of life they’re at. Young kids could use a money box or an account linked to a parent, while NAB partner Spriggy might suit kids aged 6 to 14 years old.

10.    Get travel ready

There’s plenty of ways to save if you’re travelling over the festive season or giving the gift of #wanderlust with Australia’s borders open again. You might have complimentary travel insurance with a NAB credit card, brush up on your FX knowledge with our revamped calculator or set up a NAB Foreign Currency Account.  Investigate cancellation polices so you aren’t out of pocket if plans change.

11.    Manage returns and receipts

Plan how you’ll manage returns and receipts, so you don’t end up with wrong sized clothes or gifts the recipient already has that you’ve paid for. Opt into digital receipts so they’re delivered straight to the NAB app when paying with a card at a participating retailer thanks to Slyp. Paper receipts can be stored in an envelope or photographed on your phone, while email receipts can be filed in your inbox. Arrange gift receipts when possible and note returns policies differ from retailer to retailer.

12.    Prepare now for Christmas 2022

Help your future self and start planning for Christmas 2022. Work out how much you spent this year, add 10 per cent and set and track it as a savings goal in the NAB app. You’ll thank yourself this time next year.


  • The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. NAB recommends that you seek independent legal, financial and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.
  • Estimate of $50.8 billion to $53.6 billion to be spent in the six weeks prior to Christmas (42 days) includes cafes and restaurants as part of retail trade. This is consistent with the Australian Bureau of Statistics retail trade series.

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