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More than Half of Kiwis Feeling Financially Stressed

More than Half of Kiwis Feeling Financially Stressed this Christmas

Auckland, New Zealand – November 28, 2013 – While 90 per cent of Kiwis will hit the shops to purchase gifts this Christmas, the additional outlay will leave more than half the population (51 per cent) feeling some financial stress over the holiday period. This is according to new MasterCard commissioned research on Christmas shopping habits.

When looking at gender, women appear to feel under slightly more financial pressure in the lead up to Christmas (53 vs 46 per cent), whilst parents don’t seem to be bowing to any additional financial pressure stemming from ‘pester power’ to buy the latest must-have toy or piece of technology for their children, with the results being similar to the national average (49 per cent vs the national average of 50 per cent).

The survey also revealed that whilst most Kiwis (64 per cent) are looking to spend much the same as they did in 2012, more than a quarter (26 per cent) will be tightening their belts and are aiming to spend less overall on Christmas expenditure this year. Just nine per cent of respondents said they are planning to spend more this year than the last.

According to Peter Chisnall, MasterCard New Zealand Country Manager, “The lead-up to Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of year when it comes to managing your finances. There are parties to attend, presents to buy and Christmas dinner to put on the table. Most of us will do our best to spend within our means, but the realities are that most peoples expenditures rise in the lead-up to Christmas so it’s important for Kiwis to actively manage their finances so that they can enjoy the festive season rather than worrying about money.”

Who’s spending what on who?

The survey also revealed the winners and losers this Christmas, shedding some light on Kiwi’s gift giving habits.

This year, the majority of Kiwis are planning to purchase gifts for between four and six (36 per cent) or seven to nine (24 per cent) friends and family. However women appear to edge out the men when it comes to the spirit of giving, with almost a third (31 per cent) planning to purchase gifts for 10 or more people (compared with just 10% of men).

As to who gets the lions share in our budgets, children come out as clear winners amongst parents, with an average being spent of $88 – although in 27 per cent of households, parents were planning to spend more than $150 on the apples of their eyes this Christmas.

And partners are next in line during the festive season, with an average of $86 being spent. Parents and in-laws ($48), siblings ($32), other family member ($23) and friends ($22) are also in-line to have gifts under the tree this year.

Managing Christmas spend

To manage seasonal spending, Kiwis reported relying on a combination of credit cards (35 per cent), their November/December pay cheques (33 per cent), putting money aside in a savings account (32 per cent) or buying throughout the year to spread costs (31 per cent), to fund their Christmas purchases. Only 8 per cent of people use a Christmas club scheme to fund their Christmas purchases.

However, the research also showed that 39 per cent of women (compared to 21 per cent of men) plan ahead and try to make purchases through the year in order to spread costs, while men were slightly more likely to put their purchases on their credit cards (38 per cent vs 33 per cent of women).

Chisnall added, “From this year’s results, it appears that women are employing a few extra tactics to relieve financial pressure over the Christmas period, such as spreading purchases throughout the year, and using alternative funding methods than using credit. However, even with this planning, women still seem to be feeling more stressed than their male counterparts, which may be linked to the fact that women also appear to be doing the bulk of the shopping at this time of year with almost a third (31 per cent) intending to purchase more than ten gifts this Christmas!

“At the end of the day, the Christmas period should be a time to relax and unwind, rather than feeling under financial pressure. Although it is sometimes easier said than done, the best way to manage financial pressure around Christmas time is to actively plan for the increase in expenditure and have a clear strategy around how to manage your budget. Whether this is spreading purchases throughout the year, reducing the number of people bought for or decreasing the amount spent overall, the key thing is to have a budget and strategy that works for you and to stick to it.”

To help customers manage any financial pressures over the holiday period, MasterCard has developed a series of tips for consumers to help them manage their debt over the Christmas period.


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