Peak season rates giving Aussie families the holiday blues
27 November 2017
St.George research unwraps Australians biggest holiday frustrations with peak season prices top of the list.
Peak season ‘school holiday’ rates are the nation’s pet peeve this Christmas according to new research from St.George Bank. The research reveals the number one financial woe was paying higher holiday rates, followed by the money required for Christmas presents and thirdly the bigger grocery bill at the checkout.
A third of Aussies admit this time of year is stressful but manageable, but they also shared their top tips to help save over the silly season.
One in five households said they sell their belongings to help fund Christmas spending as well as choose a secret santa system to save money on Christmas presents.
Nearly a third (28%) said they start shopping in July.
Ross Miller, General Manager for Retail Banking at St.George said he encouraged Australians to follow the lead of 23% of households surveyed, who had a year-long savings plan in place to remove the stress at this time of year.
“More than a third of families are leaving it to the last minute to start saving, which is perhaps why they are feeling the pinch.”
For the 16% who said they would place Christmas on the credit card, Mr Miller cautions such spenders to know how much you’ll need to set aside each week to pay off that amount in the New Year.
“Our research found $543 was the average on Christmas gifts alone, but more than a third said they would spend an up to $2000 over the entire season. So placing even $10-$20 away in a separate account each week, for example, may provide immense relief come November.”
Single parent families were found to be much savvier and less likely (10%) than co parent families (17%) to put Christmas on their credit card, despite their childcare and household expenses being nearly double over the season.
Instead they were twice as likely to book holidays in groups, and ‘parent swap’ to save money on school holiday care.
Two in five said they would take a holiday this season, and only 10% of Aussies surveyed said they book their holidays more than six months in advance.
“Last minute holiday planning goes hand-in-hand with paying the highest of peak season rates that are frustrating the nation. Often booking well ahead is much cheaper and can help relieve such holiday concerns,” adds Mr Miller.
Families without kids are tipped to enjoy the holidays more. When compared to life pre-kids, 60% of parents said this time of year costs ‘much more’ than expected and only 16% agreed the cost is as they predicted.
Grandparents are called on by 50% of families to reduce child care costs, while the other half of households stated they will use all their annual leave or tag team with their partner.
“The research indicates families with kids at home have a lot more stress, showing they are twice as likely to be working extra hours or a second job to fund this time of year.”
“We would encourage such families to be realistic about their holiday expenses and talk to their financial institution about setting up a dedicated savings plan a year in advance.”
Key findings – St.George Christmas Family Finances
Top 3 financial frustrations at Christmas
- Paying peak season ‘school holiday’ rates; the money for presents; and thirdly the bigger grocery bill at the checkout
- A third of the nation wait til last two-three months before Christmas (31%), directly followed by a yearly dedicated plan (23%); putting it on the credit card and paying it back in the new year (16.8%) and splitting over credit card and savings (12.5%)
- Of those who said they would split their expenses over credit, 60% of this would be savings.
- One in five Australian households will flog their belongings to help fund the silly season and have chosen a secret santa system to save money on Christmas presents
- Three in five Aussies start buying gifts in July.
- $543 is the average to be spent on Christmas presents
- 30% of households budget $2000 for the entire Christmas holiday period
- 21% of households budget up to $1000 for the entire Christmas holiday period
- 18% of households budget over $2000.
- Only 2 in 5 co-parent families plan to holiday this season
- This was less than 1 in 5 for single parent families
- 25% of the nation resent peak season holiday rates
- Only 10% admit to booking more than six months in advance.
Juggling school holidays and work
- Grandparents are called on by 50% of families to reduce child care costs
- The other half of households will use all their annual leave at Christmas or tag team with their partner
- Families with children at home are twice as likely to be working extra hours or a second job than those with no kids.
Christmas finances without kids
- When compared to life pre-kids, 60% of parents said this time of year costs ‘much more’ than expected
- Less than one in five agreed the cost of Christmas is as they predicted.