finance

From $80 to "in the thousands": 10 women told us how much they spend on Christmas gifts (and how they actually budget for it).

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It's almost that wonderful time of the year.         

The weather is warming up, the hum of Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey is returning to the radio and shopping centres have most definitely put up their trees and lights. 

Christmas is coming, and you can bet we're looking forward to all the ~fabulous~ food, drinks, gift-giving and festivities that come with it. 

There's one thing we're not so looking forward to though, and that's the inevitable decline in our bank balance right as we hit the silly season. 

As we love a pervy stat at Mamamia, Afterpay surveyed 1,700 Aussies this year on their approach to Christmas budgeting, and found that 68 per cent set their own spending boundaries... but most definitely go over-budget. 

No wonder 38 per cent said spending money on gifts is the most stressful part of Christmas, with 1 in 4 admitting they wish there were more services available to help manage their budget when buying gifts.

We hear ya.

So for a cheeky look (with plenty of tips included too), we thought we'd get in nice and early to see how 10 women are budgeting (or at least: planning!) for the cost of gift-giving this Christmas.

Emma

I usually manage a fairly frugal approach to the festive season, with my cost of gifts totalling no more than $100.

I'm single and my family have never been huge gift-givers, so most of my money goes towards food and drinks throughout December.

Don't worry though, I'm not a monster.

I love finding sentimental (and affordable) gifts for the people that matter most to me, which is exactly why I take to Afterpay's Christmas Gift Guide as a first stop.

It gives me a bunch of versatile gifting ideas at all prices, but each and every item on the list can be paid for in 4 handy installments, with absolutely zero interest (really!).

This year I'm planning on gifting a bunch of cacti to family members — the lowest maintenance plant. I can grab them all online too from a lovely small business – The Cacti Folk

That means $100 worth of plants, or 4 payments of $25 with Afterpay.

Plants from The Cacti Folk ($100 or 4 payments of $25). Image: The Cacti Folk.

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My other top Christmas gift picks from Afterpay's Christmas Gift Guide that could make a special gift for your loved ones definitely include:

It has well and truly made Christmas a breeze to get sorted. 

Glow Gift Set from Lush ($55 or 4 payments of $13.75). Image: Lush Australia.

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Shell

I live with my partner and our 2 doggos, no kids – so on average, Christmas gifting usually totals around $750.

The gift-giving in my extended family and closest friend circles are all on a Secret Santa basis (everyone receives and gives one gift each). It usually sets me back at about $200.

My partner and I also gift both sets of parents, our three siblings, my sister-in-law (oh, and our own 2 dogs! Don’t @ me), so that usually sits around a total of $550.

When it comes to Christmas budgeting, I’m a stress head that loves to plan, so I’m the unusual one in my friend group that always has someone’s birthday gift 5 months in advance. 

I know, I’m that person. This won’t always be the case I’m sure if down the track there are kids in the mix! 

But while I can right now, my biggest nugget of wisdom would be to buy your Christmas gifts throughout the year. 

Stick with me here. If you’ve got anywhere from 10 to 15 (or heck, MORE) people to buy for, that most definitely can’t be left until November or December to start thinking about... the panic would be real.

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So I definitely recommend spotting good buys throughout the year (particularly around sale times, like post-Christmas sales, EOFY sales, Black Friday and Cyber Monday) and stash them away, so costs aren’t so chunky during the holiday season, and instead absorbed throughout the year. Afterpay usually has great bargains for all of these sales too, so I keep a close eye on those, as the split payments are only needed fortnightly, too.

(Afterpay's survey found this too, actually! 56 per cent want to be able to spread our Christmas spending, rather than having it all deducted from our pocket in one big hit.)

Eleanor

My gift spending at Christmas usually totals $1,000.

I go with: $500 on my partner and $100 each per family member.

My Christmas spending is reflective of my yearly spending: AKA I don't budget and whatever it is, it is. I never want to skimp out on spoiling my loved ones with a present I think they'll love, plus I use Afterpay to purchase the bulk of my gifts.

By purchasing most of my gift list in four installments, I'm able to buy those more expensive gifts (no interest either) without blowing out my savings for the rest of the festive season (when I need the money the most!). 

Image: Supplied. 

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Madeliene

We have a new Christmas gifting rule that rather than everyone buying too many presents for the kids, each kid in the family gets one slightly bigger present from everyone who can pitch in (grandparents, aunts, uncles). This year, my son will be getting a bicycle.  

We just plan in advance and everyone chips in $50 to $100 each so we can get something nice for them that we know they will love.  

Adults don't really do presents in my family anymore, it's all about the kids. So pretty cost effective luckily!

Siobhan

I never budget for Christmas. My husband and I always try to in theory, but we never stick to it. 

If I had to give you a dollar figure for how much we spend, I honestly couldn't, but it would be in the thousands.

I try to save money where possible, but Christmas is literally my favourite time of year and I always want it to be as big, brash, and American as possible so I honestly don't care.

We don't buy gifts for siblings and vice versa – unless we see each other in person which is very rare. Parents only. 

And frankly we don't usually buy the niece and nephew much because the grandparents SHOWER them with gifts so it would be a waste, and they are too young to care. 

Close friends in Australia will get a nice bottle of wine or similar, and something cute for their kids if they have them, but we've long since given up on shipping gifts overseas. (The cost of postage is outrageous and they almost never get there in time!)

My tip would be to cut out all the unnecessary gifting costs where you can. Not everyone needs presents, so gift sparingly!

Katie

I love me a list, so I have it mapped out, based on my spending from last year:

  • Presents for Dad: $140
  • Presents for Mum: $212
  • Presents for partner: $320
  • Presents for mother-in-law: $48
  • Presents for sister-in-law: $52
  • Presents for father-in-law: $44
  • Postage for presents for in-laws: $34

A total of $850, on the nose.

My biggest Christmas gifting tip would be to be upfront with family and friends prior to Christmas to establish what the expectation is. Let's be transparent, friends. It makes things so much easier to plan and budget for, without any stress or overdoing it (or undercooking it). 

I love that we have an in-law family spend limit, and I have an agreement with my girl group we don't do Christmas presents.

Emmeline

There are no kids in my family but I still manage to spend so much money on presents — even though it completely goes against my anti-capitalist beliefs!

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I could spend anywhere between $500 to $800 and that will cover presents for my siblings, parents, partner, aunt and nan. 

Gift-giving is my love language so I really lean in to it at Christmas. To make up for the cost of presents though, I don't buy any decorations, or any new entertaining season outfits. Plus, I make all my food.

Claire

My family and I started doing Kris Kringle last year with a $50 limit for the adults. This way, we can save spending far too much on far too many little gifts that people don't really value, anyway.

We still buy the kids some presents so I'll spend about $500 on my kid and then probably another $300 on the others. 

So I sit somewhere around the $850 to $900 mark on gift-buying too. Leaving the adults out of it has saved us so much money.

Sally

I am hopeless at budgeting, so the Christmas season (very often) blows way out of proportion and I suffer the consequences when January rolls around. 

Since I run a small, service-based business and our low months are December through to the start of February, that can be very tricky to manage. 

This year, I've set a hard limit at $500 for gifts. My children are adults now, so I will only purchase gifts I know they need or will appreciate. 

Plus, I am going to do my best to steer clear of any number of Kris Kringles where I can this time around – that would definitely be my tip, so you're not having to buy for 17 different social and work groups if you can help it!

Isabella

I start planning for the Christmas season 3 to 4 months early each year by writing a rough guide of who I will need to purchase presents for, and how much I'm hoping to spend. 

This year, the rough budget came to $600 and, written in October, meant that I would need to save $200 a month so I could reach that goal comfortably. 

So far I'm on track, and have found that this super easy planning method (while almost always goes over) prevents me stressing about money when December hits.

Wrap Christmas up early this year with Afterpay

Afterpay your gift list in 4 easy installments, and take them home today. Check out their Christmas Gift Guide here.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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Afterpay helps you gift better and pay better. This Christmas keep track of your holiday shopping and budget with the Afterpay app. Afterpay your list with a one-stop solution for all your holiday needs. Download the app and shop now.