Shopping beware buying gifts late at Christmas could bust the holiday budget
Shopping late and "self-gifting" are the main budget busting culprits for nearly three quarters (72%) of Australians who exceed their annual Christmas shopping budget by an average of $248, according to new research released today from eBay.
The average Christmas spending budget this year is down from last year ($662 compared with $681.47). Getting shopping done early and cutting out hidden expenses is the key to sticking to your budget - particularly with 90 per cent of Aussie shoppers not including incidental expenses such as petrol, parking, lunch or snacks in their Christmas present spending budget.
Self-gifting or purchasing a gift for oneself on impulse is another Christmas budget buster. More than half of the respondents (57%) are confessed self-gifters; 18-24 year olds (67%) and singles (65%) are the most likely to pick up items for themselves while Christmas shopping.
The nationwide survey also found that nearly all (96%) Aussies find Christmas shopping stressful. The most common stresses associated with Christmas shopping are crowds (63%), difficulty parking (53%), the long queues (52%) and worry over finding a thoughtful present (54%).
83% of respondents wish they had done more of their shopping earlier and 68% believe they will get better value if they get their Christmas shopping done early. However, many don't follow their own advice, with more than one third (35%) saving their Christmas shopping for the last few days before Christmas.
eBay spokesperson Sian Gipslis says with nearly three quarters (72%) of Australians admitting to going over their Christmas spending budget, and a whopping 75 per cent admitting that the last few days before Christmas is the most difficult time to shop for Christmas presents, shopping online for gifts earlier in the season is the best way to nab bargains and avoid blowing your Christmas spending budget.
"Shopping on eBay takes the stress out of Christmas shopping because you can do it from the comfort of your own home. With prices averaging 25% less than retail and no parking fees, food court snacks or meals to pay for, eBay can help you stick to your Christmas spending budget. You might even have a bit of money left over to splurge on yourself!" says Gipslis.
More and more savvy Aussies are opting out of the shopping crowds this Christmas, with nearly half (49%) of respondents claiming they will buy presents online this year. Better value, avoiding crowds and queues, and taking advantage of better range are the main reasons that drive people to shop online.
eBay's research also revealed the most common Aussie Christmas shopper personality types, including:Last Minute Larry: Larry (35% of shoppers) does Christmas shopping in the last few days and wishes he had done it earlier; a higher proportion of men (39%) than women (32%) are 'Larrys';
Supermum: (15% of shoppers) is well organised and gets all her Christmas shopping done by mid December; women are twice as likely as men to be 'Supermums' (20% of women compared to just 10% of men);
Early Bird: (24% of shoppers) always buys early in order to avoid the Christmas rush (13%) and to get the best bargains (11%);
Thoughtful Ted: (11% of shoppers) likes to spend time and effort throughout the year getting the best Christmas presents; is likely to be older and married (16% of those aged 50-64 years and 13% who are married are Thoughtful Teds);
Santa's Elf: (5% of shoppers) likes the hustle and bustle of offline Christmas shopping; twice as likely to be young (11% of 18-24 years olds are elves) compared to older groups (5%); and
Penny Pinching Pixie: (7% of shoppers) doesn't usually buy Christmas presents; tends to be younger (higher than average at 11% of 18-24 year olds).
Interview with Justine DaviesWhy are Australians going over their budget by at least $250?
Justine Davies: The eBay research showed that 72% of Australians go over their Christmas budget by an average of $248, which is mostly attributed to shopping later in the season and making unplanned purchases, including gifts for themselves. What is also surprising, is that Aussies don't take into account incidental expenses related to Christmas shopping, such as parking and petrol, within their Christmas budget - those incidentals can cost a lot!
How do you ensure Christmas shopping is stress free?
Justine Davies: The eBay survey also found that nearly everyone (96%) finds Christmas shopping stressful. The most common stresses are crowds (63%), difficulty parking (53%), the long queues (52%) and worry over finding a thoughtful gift (54%).
The best way to ensure your Christmas shopping experience is stress free is to do a bit of planning ahead of time. For example, making a list of everyone that you need to buy a gift for, and setting a price limit for each person on your list. Also giving some thought to what each person is like will help reduce the stress associated with finding a thoughtful gift and overspending. If you don't like crowds or if the idea of having to search for a parking spot is stressful, start shopping earlier in the holiday season. Shopping online, on sites like eBay, is also a great way to avoid stress. You can do it from the comfort of your own home in your spare time - you can even shop in your pyjamas and nobody will know!
Do you take your three children shopping at Christmas time?
Justine Davies: I took my two youngest kids to our local shopping centre last week, to do some banking and go to the post office, and within five minutes they had knocked over a Christmas tree - there were baubles everywhere!
Anybody who has kids will tell you that even a simple trip to the shops can be a stressful experience. Add to that the busy holiday crowds at shopping centres and you could have a recipe for disaster. I try to be organised and buy Christmas gifts early to avoid the holiday crowds. I also like to purchase gifts online while the kids are at school or in bed. It makes life easier for me as well as the kids!
No matter what, I HAVE to have my Christmas shopping finished by the time the school holidays start otherwise it juts turns into complete chaos!
How do you ensure you don't spend over your budget?
Justine Davies: Here are a few simple tricks for sticking to your Christmas spending budget:
Make a list. By making a list of all the people who will receive a gift, you will ensure nobody gets forgotten and it will save you from a last-minute panic-ridden shopping trip - a sure fire way to go over your budget.
Set a dollar limit per person. Setting a dollar limit per person and promising yourself that you won't exceed it can be a great way to stem the flow of money from your wallet.
Surf the net. No traffic, no crowds, no noise - buying online has a lot of advantages. For example, prices on eBay are up to 25% less than retail.
Less is more. Think quality, not quantity this year and buy just one nice item for each person. It will probably be a cheaper - and a more appreciated alternative.
Where do you do most of your Christmas shopping?
Justine Davies: I try to do my shopping where I think I can get the best value. I like to scan flyers throughout the year for good deals, and I buy items when they're on sale. I also like to shop online - it not only saves me time and money from petrol and parking, but I can do it when the kids are in bed or at school.
What is appealing about being able to shop online now?
Justine Davies: Shopping online for Christmas gifts is nice because you can do it from the comfort of your own home. You don't have to battle the holiday crowds and get stressed about finding a parking space, you can save money on petrol, parking and food court meals, and you can take time to research the best gifts to purchase and compare prices.
How can we make our money stretch further this Christmas?
Justine Davies: People can make their money stretch further this Christmas by taking the time to develop a budget for gifts. Then you can research gifts online and compare prices. Another way to save money is to start shopping for Christmas gifts now, as waiting till the last minute leads to lesser value for money. Finally, Aussies can also consider shopping online this year to save on incidental expenses such as petrol, parking and meals and snacks from the shopping centre food hall.
If we are self-gifters how can we ensure we don't spend our Christmas gift budget on ourselves?
Justine Davies: A surprising finding in the eBay survey was that 67% of us are self-gifters, meaning we purchase items for ourselves on impulse while shopping for Christmas gifts. With all the temptation around the holidays, it's not hard to see why most people get themselves a little treat!
There are a few things people can do to ensure they don't blow their Christmas gift budget on themselves. Firstly, you can factor in a small amount for yourself in your spending budget. Otherwise, by searching for the best deals and saving money on your overall budget, you'll have a bit of money left over to get yourself a treat. eBay is a great example of how you can save money - items listed on the site are often 25% less than retail. If you got all your gifts on eBay you could have up to 25% of your budget to spend on yourself!
When is the perfect time to begin Christmas shopping?
Justine Davies: The best time to start shopping for Christmas gifts is right now. eBay's survey shows that waiting until the last minute to purchase all your presents not only leads to stress, but also to lesser value for money. It's also harder to find thoughtful gifts when you're in a hurry.
What is the best gift to get, if you really don't know what to buy a certain someone?
Justine Davies: It may sound clichéd, but I think the best gifts don't have to cost a lot of money and come from the heart. It's like the old maxim says: it's the thought that counts. Gift guides are a great source of inspiration, and many online sites like eBay.com.au have their own gift guides which are packed with gift ideas for everyone on your shopping list.