A WEEK out from Christmas, you still haven't organised presents for the entire family.
There's Uncle Bob, and Aunt Mary, the cousins - all 15 of them - and of course, Grandma May, if she can stay awake long enough to open hers.
But with an ever-expanding family, where do you draw the line when it comes to buying Christmas presents?
Is it okay to simply say no to out-of-control spending?
Mattel commissioned a recent study to attempt to uncover what gift-giving says about each of us.
The study discovered that most Australian parents spent more than one business day per child looking for the perfect Christmas gift.
On average, a child will receive gifts from 6.6 givers, with an average gift price of $55.21, which means each child can receive up to $360 worth of Christmas gifts.
The study looked at what motivated consumers on an emotional level, and revealed four main gift-giving types:
- Spontaneous spenders: the excited and last-minute shopper.
- Gift-giving gurus: the motivated and pre-planned shopper.
- Burdened buyers: the obligated and rushed shopper.
- Task-focused transactors: the dutiful and organised shopper.
Clinical and coaching psychologist Suzy Green said that when looking at what motivated consumers to buy at Christmas, everyone shopped for different reasons, but two main types of shoppers were evident.
"You have the plan purchaser, who plans everything they will buy," Dr Green said.
"And then you have the people who buy spontaneously and love getting caught up in the last-minute shopping."
Christmas shopping often could turn what should be a happy time of the year into a dreaded time, with unnecessary stress being placed on material items.
To combat the pressure associated with Christmas shopping, Dr Green recommended thinking first about what type of shopper each of us was.
"If you know you like to plan, (then) plan ahead, and know what you need to get and don't leave it until the last minute," she said.
For those who often fall into the obligatory Christmas shopping category, Dr Green suggested thinking about the purchase, and instead of just buying a gift, finding something that would mean something special to you.
"If you do tend to buy out of obligation, try and rethink the purchase," she said.
"Put thought into what you are going to buy."
Dr Green said that when buying presents out of obligation, the possible associated stress could begin to affect well-being, so she advised against this.
"If you don't shop out of obligation, you will find more meaning and pleasure which means it is better for your well being," she said.
Dr Green said we should all try to make shopping at Christmas a happy experience.
SAVING MONEY ON CHRISTMAS SHOPPING
Ipac Financial Planning founding director Paul Clitheroe suggests some ways that consumers can save money this Christmas season:
- Use lay-bys because even though there may be a small fee for setting one up, you can pay it off at your own leisure up until Christmas and no expensive interest rate charges apply.
- Shop Online: It is the best way to compare prices and that way you can get the best deal for your money.
- Draft a Christmas budget: Know how much you can spend and who you can afford to spend the money on.
- Stick to the usual financial regime: Where possible, don't overspend just because it's Christmas, and stay on track with your usual payments on loans and credit cards. Pay off more if you can, and stash away any extra money into higher interest-bearing accounts.