How much is “too much” to spend on Christmas presents?

Gobsmacked. Dumb-founded. Absolutely agog!

I could continue with the adjectives, but I think you get my drift: I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

A friend and I were chatting about Christmas and how much we spend on our kids’ presents. Keep in mind that our children are similar ages, all under 10, so they’re not yet requesting expensive gaming consoles and iPads.


She thought for a moment then said, “Each year, I struggle to spend less than $1000. That’s for all three of them, so, like, $300-400 each.”

She then saw my jaw hit the floor, and added sheepishly, “Why – what’s your budget?”

Okay, so I might be a little on the frugal side, but my Christmas budget is nowhere NEAR this high. In fact, I can confidently say that I would have change from $100 for each child.

This is because my kids are at an age where they’re thrilled to rip open barbies, trucks, bath toys, paint sets, crafts, stickers, notepads, lipglosses and nail polishes.

By shopping carefully at places like Kmart, Big W, Toy Mate and Priceline, I can quite literally fill up a giant bag full of gifts for each of them, without breaking the bank.

A new report from ASIC is urging others not to over-indulge financially this Christmas, revealing that a whopping $903m is currently outstanding in buy now, pay later schemes. research director Sally Tindall says our over-spending habits are causing us massive financial headaches.

“Payment platforms like Afterpay and Zip let people buy things, even if they don’t have enough money in their bank account. While these services do aim to lend responsibly, and typically have lower credit limits and more stringent repayments terms than most credit cards, the bottom line is you can still get yourself into financial trouble if you’re not careful,” she says.

“The fact that one in six customers have become overdrawn, delayed their payments or borrowed extra money is concerning… If you’re using one of these payment plans this Christmas, just be aware it can leave a nasty sting in the tail if you don’t have the money to clear your debt.”

Moral of the story? Set a firm budget when you go Christmas shopping – and remember that kids are often more excited by the act of ripping open the presents than that are about the contents of them!