Shoppers will use more cash than credit

Here’s some good news for the festive season. The majority of shoppers are leaving their credit cards at home this Christmas with plans to pay for purchases with cash.

According to ASIC’s MoneySmart site, Australian households are expected to spend, on average, $1079 on Christmas, with up to around half of this total going on gifts alone.

It’s an additional outlay that can strain household budgets so it’s great to see ASIC also finding that about 60 per centof us will use cash savings for holiday season spending.

Only one in five shoppers are likely to reach for their credit card.

Making it through the festive season without stocking up on high interest card debt is one of the best presents you can give yourself for Christmas. Even better, paying by cash offers scope to ask for a discount. So don’t be afraid to ask retailers for their best cash price.

Interestingly, an Australia Post survey found a whopping 87 per cent of Australians will head online for festive purchases.

Shopping via the internet makes it easy to compare prices and snare a bargain. But in the pre-Christmas rush it’s easy to lose money to a dodgy website especially if you haven’t used the provider before.

Instead of focusing solely on prices, look for some important features to make sure you’re not ripped off.

Check the website address begins with ‘https’ and the page displays an icon depicting a closed padlock. These indicate additional layers of encryption to keep your payments secure.

Paul Clitheroe is a founding director of financial planning firm ipac, Chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and chief commentator for Money Magazine.

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