Every year banks and retailers release statistics about how much Australians are going to spend, and on what. Top gift lists dominate the headlines but we wanted to take a step back and ask Australians about how they manage their Christmas spending. Some of the results surprised us.

The majority of Aussies actually set a budget with most people allocating between $500-$1,000 to spend on Christmas, covering gifts, food, travel etc. We also found that instead of relying on plastic, people intend to use their savings to pay for Christmas in 2014.

Having spoken to a few of our customers after the survey, it seems many people put money aside from each pay or buy presents throughout the year.  This is great and is a step towards managing the Christmas blowout that can occur. However, where people come unstuck is last minute buying and a lack of planning when it comes to Christmas gifts.  While people are being organised at the beginning of the year and many have already bought presents for family and friends, they tend to spend more money the closer it gets to Christmas. This is when the budget goes out the window and the potential for financial pain in January kicks in. Everyone wants to spoil their kids and it is easy to want to just keep buying presents because you spot something your partner or child might like, or you just want the Christmas tree to look a little fuller.  Yet it is possible to have a great Christmas on a budget. It just requires careful planning and being realistic about how much you can afford to spend. We wish all our customers and friends a very Merry Christmas, and a safe and prosperous New Year. Paul Walshe Managing Director Fair Go Finance

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