With Mother’s Day around the corner, it may be worth considering that the vast majority of Canberrans would prefer a personal or sentimental gift rather than an expensive gift and many of us are happy just to get a card.
A new survey on the cost of celebration spending commissioned by the Suncorp Group has found that Australians splurge a massive $18.4 billion each year on our nearest and dearest when most people would prefer us to put our wallets away and give them something of sentimental value.
A healthy 65 per cent of ACT respondents to the survey preferred personal/sentimental gifts over expensive gifts and we are more likely to strongly agree that cash is ‘never an appropriate gift’ than people living in other states or territories.
Interestingly, we are also more likely to be comfortable with re-gifting or just giving a card than other Australians.
The survey found that ACT residents are most likely to strongly disagree with the statement that ‘re-gifting is never appropriate’ compared to residents in other Australian jurisdictions. However, ACT residents are most likely to strongly agree that ‘a card is a good gift’ compared to those in other states and territories.
Suncorp Behavioural Economist, Phil Slade, said the findings confirmed you don’t always need to spend big to show someone you care.
“It’s important to take the time to think about the person you’re buying for. As the research found, people value different qualities so investing thought into what the person you’re buying for likes may not only reduce the cost but make it more meaningful,” Mr Slade said.
“Gift giving is all about connections – there is a psychological link between how much a person wants to feel connected with the person they’re buying for and how much they think about that person when they’re not around, with how much time and thought and effort we put into a present or celebration.
“It’s clear more people prefer the meaning behind a present, over the monetary value. Gift giving which reflects thought and consideration can reinforce that primal sense of belonging which may not be as reflective through cash or a gift card.”
The Suncorp Cost of Celebration Spending Report surveyed 1,581 people across Australia and was conducted by AMR.
It found Australians spend the most on Christmas ($470), followed by birthdays ($360), engagements and weddings ($204), anniversaries ($169), Valentine’s Day ($100), Mother’s Day and Father’s Day ($99), baby showers and bridal showers ($80), and lastly Easter ($67).
“It was interesting to see on average sons spend more than daughters ($106 versus $93) on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but daughters tend to be better at planning ahead and budgeting – a timely reminder in the value of planning with Mother’s Day on the horizon,” Mr Slade said.
In terms of planning ahead, the report found that only one-third of Australians always budget for celebration spending, a third sometimes do and a third never do, with females more likely to budget for celebration spending (33 per cent females versus 27 per cent males). The ACT figures revealed that 1 in 5 residents do not budget for celebration spending.
Mr Slade said budgeting and planning ahead for large expenses can help to lessen the burden or financial impact on your wallet.
“There are many important factors when deciding how much to spend on a present or celebration. According to the research, most of us believe ‘who the gift is for’ is the most important factor when determining how much to spend, closely followed by ‘the importance of the occasion’ and ‘how much money you have’.
“Celebrations such as birthdays, Christmas and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are concrete dates in the calendar which means you can plan ahead,” he said.
“If you take the time to work through your finances and correctly guesstimate how much money you will need to save before a planned celebration, this will help to make giving gifts more affordable.”
Mr Slade said some money-saving gift-giving tips include:
- second-hand gifts are not always second rate – especially for larger gifts such as a musical instrument
- consider organising a group gift where you can get away with spending less money
- use your downtime to actively think about presents you are going to give – as leaving present planning and shopping until the last minute means you are more likely to make irrational decisions and spend more out of guilt.
Do you prefer sentimental gifts or expensive gifts? Do you ever re-gift or give cash for a present? Let us know in the comments below.