Although our Christmas season kicks off in the heat of summer, this time around, things are feeling a little frosty. With interest rates continuing to rise, bills continuing to pile up, and inflation rates potentially continuing to ... well, inflate, it’s understandable if you’re a bit wary of the season ahead. While Christmas tunes fill our local shopping centres and our calendars become full of festive ‘cheer’, it’s becoming clearer that the holiday season can take an exhausting toll on our psyches.
Boring substantiation bit: To understand how Aussies are feeling about this year’s holiday season, we commissioned iLink Research to conduct a national survey of 1,000 Aussies.
Okay, now that’s over, let’s take a look at how we’re all feeling about the month ahead.
During this happy season, it can be tempting to stay home, watching all of our favourite Christmas classics and avoiding the holiday crowds … and it would certainly be cheaper! Of the Aussies we surveyed, 94% told us the increased cost of living over the past 12 months has impacted their household financial health.1 It’s no surprise, then, that 57% of Aussies surveyed told us they will be reducing the amount they typically spend over the festive period due to recent price hikes (as a renter in Melbourne, I most definitely concur).1 Times are tough for a lot of Aussies, and the holiday season certainly emphasises the many financial pressures we have to deal with from day to day, especially when you consider the extra pressures of hosting parties, buying decorations and shopping for presents.
This year, in a gift that no one asked for, the RBA has increased the cash rate by 1.25%.2 But how do these increases really affect Aussies? (lol, a lot.)
Our research suggests that Aussies with a Home Loan are more likely to be hurting this Christmas, with 64% of mortgage holders surveyed saying they’ll be reducing how much they would normally spend at this time of year.1 (Shameless plug: did you know we’ve partnered with Lendi to help Aussies compare a range of Home Loans?)
And it’s not just people with Home Loans that are feeling the cost-of-living crunch. Almost one in four Aussies surveyed told us they’ll be reducing their spend ‘significantly’ this holiday season.1 So, where will these reductions take place?
With all of this added financial pressure, it makes sense that there’s a bit of a grinch-y atmosphere going around. We asked those who are cutting back this festive season what was on the chopping block, and a whopping 37% said they’d be cutting back on presents (If my family is reading this, don’t get any ideas!). But if the Grinch taught me anything, it’s that presents aren’t the true meaning of Christmas.1 Instead, the true meaning of Christmas is spreading holiday cheer for all to hear.
So, how do we spread this cheer without breaking the bank? As well as cutting down on presents, you might also be tempted to forego the Christmas lights this year, and you’re not alone. Although over half of Aussies surveyed told us they usually decorate with Christmas lights, almost 60% of them won’t be using them this year, preferring to try and save on their electricity bills instead.1 Luckily, we have some good news for you! Lighting only accounts for 10% of the average Australian household’s electricity bill – meaning you have a little wiggle room.3 So if you’re sad to shun the festive décor completely, consider just practising restraint with fewer lights than normal. Or if you’re concerned about your next electricity bill, then it might be worthwhile (another shameless plug) shopping around from our range of Energy Plans and Providers.
Although it’s clear that plenty of Aussies are doing it tougher this festive season, it doesn’t mean we can’t find frugal ways to celebrate with our friends and family. So, before you discard that Michael Bublé CD and shun any films starring Sinbad, think about all the ways you can celebrate on a budget, whether it means a slightly smaller Christmas-light display or a brand new, cost-effective Energy Plan!