Don’t go silly with presents on credit: Our top tips
WHILE Christmas shoppers could avoid spending too much in the "silly" season by setting a dollar limit on gifts, or by limiting the names on that list, there's another danger to be wary of.
Australia's credit card debt is about $33 billion, averaging out at $4200 each card holder, so it is important to pay attention to how often you whip out the plastic.
Belinda Vaughan seems to have the recipe for success when it comes to managing her credit card and reaping the rewards from it.
The Glasshouse Mountains mother-of-two uses her credit card every day, but pays her purchases off in full at the end of each month to avoid accruing any interest.
Then as Christmas approaches, Mrs Vaughan cashes in rewards points from her credit card to buy shopping vouchers she can then use to buy Christmas presents for the family.
It is a system Mrs Vaughan has found makes this time of year a lot easier on the hip pocket.
"Our Christmas shopping is already done," she said.
>>Do you have a top tip for over Christmas? Post a comment below
Shopping centres across the Sunshine Coast were packed full of people looking for that special gift.
But the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has urged Sunshine Coast residents to ditch the plastic for cash as credit card companies ramped up pre-Christmas marketing.
The timely reminder follows the Daily's special report which revealed 123,000 Sunshine Coast households faced financial meltdown.
About 37% of households were unable to raise $2000 in a week to cover a crisis.
At least 53,264 residents have had cash flow problems in the past 12 months.
ASIC MoneySmart senior executive leader Miles Larbey said the credit card trap was easily fallen into.
"It can be very tempting to get caught up in the Christmas spirit and spend more than you intended by using the credit card," Mr Larbey said. "The most important thing is not to spend more than you intend or can afford to repay."
Mr Larbey said there was still time before Christmas to avoid getting into further debt.
"Have a clear idea of your spending limit by setting a budget for Christmas, which should include all aspects of Christmas spending - from presents, food and travel," he said.
Are you wary of falling into credit card debt at Christmas?
This poll ended on 26 February 2015.
Yes, I don't want to be stressing about debt all year
No, I'll get the best gifts and think about payments next year
I don't have a credit card so I don't have to worry
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Top 10 Tips to save at Christmas
1. Get crafty and make gifts
2. Cut up old Christmas cards to use as gift tags
3. Start a Secret Santa for the family
4. Use loyalty points and cash them in for presents
5. Only buy for the children
6. Set a price limit for family and friends or make a rule - no gifts
7. Get people to bring food to celebrations
8. Fill stockings with just the essentials
9. Give photos as gifts
10. Bake goodies instead of giving Christmas cards