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Thrifty Christmas: 4 in 5 Kiwis are tightening their belts

        • The average person is expected to spend $561 this holiday season
        • The cost of a traditional Christmas dinner has increased by 10%
        • Ways to save money this holiday season

21 December 2021, Auckland, New Zealand – As Kiwis gear up for a big holiday season, many are getting thrifty with their finances, according to new research by financial comparison site Finder.

A new nationally representative survey of 1,507 respondents found New Zealanders are set to shell out $1.8 billion on Christmas this year, with the average person expected to spend $561.

Gifts top the list of festive expenses, with Kiwis expected to fork out $253 on presents down from $352 in 2020.

New Zealanders are hoping to spend less this year the research shows 4 in 5 (80%) are looking for ways to curb costs this Christmas.

Actions Kiwis are taking to save money include setting aside money in advance (40%), shopping for presents early (39%) and implementing a gift limit with loved ones (21%).

Angus Kidman, Finder’s editor-at-large in New Zealand, said many consumers are planning to spend less this Christmas.

“2022 has been tough and holiday season spending is down compared to previous years.

“Ongoing economic uncertainty and the emerging Omicron have made everyone more aware of their spending habits. Emergency savings have become a bigger priority.”

Millennials will be the biggest spenders this Christmas, forking out $631 on average, while baby boomers ($438) will spend the least.

“From presents to Christmas parties, celebrating the festive months can be expensive but you can limit your spending without curbing all the fun.

“Kiwis have spent months away from their loved ones and will be hoping to enjoy an extra-special Christmas this year – just without the holiday debt hangover,” Kidman said.

This comes as new Finder analysis shows the cost of a traditional Christmas dinner has increased by 10% over the past 12 months.

Using data from Stats NZ’s October Food Price Index 2021, Finder calculated the cost of ingredients for a no-frills Christmas meal for 4 people, including salad, meat, vegetables, dessert and non-alcoholic drinks.

The analysis found it would cost approximately $44.82 (excluding alcohol) to prepare a basic festive meal an increase of 10% when compared to the cost of the same meal in 2020, and an increase of 20% when compared to 2011.

Kidman encouraged New Zealanders to go easy on their bank accounts this holiday season.

“Buying a gift for every family member could set you back hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Instead, try a Secret Santa and only shop for one person.

“Setting a gift limit can also minimise how much you spend on each present.

“The new year can be a jam-packed month full of parties and celebrations. You don’t need to say yes to everything, especially if it’s going to put a dent in your wallet.

“Instead, pick and choose just a few events this will also save you from social burnout.”

The research found Kiwis (80%) are more likely to be slashing their holiday spending than Australians (67%).

How much do you think you’ll spend on the following items this Christmas?
Travel costs$108
Christmas hampers$75
Source: Finder nationally representative survey of 1,507 Kiwis, October 2021


What are you doing to save on the cost of the holiday season?
I have started saving already40%
Buying food/presents early39%
Shopping during the sales season (e.g. Black Friday, Cyber Monday)32%
Implementing a gift limit with loved ones (e.g. price limit, only buying for one person)21%
Making gifts18%
I have started a side hustle/side job12%
I have opened a holiday season savings account10%
I’m not doing anything to help save on costs for the holiday season10%
I don’t celebrate the holiday season5%
I’m not exchanging presents this year4%
Source: Finder survey of 1,507 respondents, October 2021
Respondents could select all that apply except ‘I’m not doing anything to help save on costs for the holiday season’, ‘I don’t celebrate the holiday season’, and ‘I’m not exchanging presents this year’.

Ways to save money this holiday season

  • Get creative. Try something new this year and make your gifts at home. A homemade photo album is a sentimental and affordable gift for a loved one, and home-baked sweets and treats are a great addition to a Christmas lunch. While you’re at it, get thrifty by using recycled newspaper instead of buying wrapping paper. If you have children, they’ll love getting artsy on presents with you.
  • Agree on present spending limits with friends and family. If you are buying presents for each family member, it can add up quickly. Try setting gift-giving spending limits, do Secret Santa, or only buy gifts for a select few of your closest loved ones. You could also replace gifts with things like acts of service or experiences, like a picnic at the beach.
  • Share the load. Hosting Christmas lunch is a pricey endeavour, especially if you have a large family. Instead of providing food and alcohol on your own, ask each guest to bring their own plate to share. This could save you up to hundreds of dollars, and you’ll appreciate spending less time preparing food and more time celebrating with your loved ones.


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The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on's review pages for the current correct values.

About Finder

Finder is a global comparison site, now available in New Zealand. Each month, 90,000 consumers turn to Finder to save money and time, and to make important life choices. In New Zealand we compare credit cards, mortgages, travel insurance, shopping deals and more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by three Australians: Fred Schebesta, Frank Restuccia and Jeremy Cabral. Since launching in 2006, Finder has continued to expand and launch around the globe, with offices in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Poland and the Philippines. For further information visit

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