Young Aussies across the country are feeling the pressure of the cost of living crisis, made all the more acute now that the festive season has rolled around. With expectation to spend money on Christmas gifts, paired with the cost of flying home and even stocking fillers becoming more expensive with inflation, it’s a tough time to be celebrating.
PEDESTRIAN.TV asked a bunch of Aussies if the cost of living crisis changed their spending and festivities this year, and the resounding answer was “yes”.
Many revealed they’d had to prioritise certain ways of celebrating and put others on the back burner because there wasn’t enough money to go around.
James, 27, said he and his fianceé had decided not to buy each other gifts this year after they were lucky enough to buy a small apartment together. The decision came with a cost.
“Interest payments and bills have gone up almost every month since,” he said.
“We haven’t organised any [Christmas] dinners as we have the last few years with friends. Definitely not complaining, but we are having to re-prioritise what’s worth spending money on.”
Michael, 25, shared his frustration at how expensive even the simplest gifts had become, leaving Christmas shopping to be more stressful than joyful.
“Simple gifts and small items now cost ridiculous prices to the point where if you want to give someone more than one gift, you are automatically spending over $100 dollars,” he said.
“Of course, we could all be buying small trinkets for under $20 but — for me at least — this is a time to give special gifts to the important people in my life and celebrate my chosen family. With current living conditions, Christmas has become unreasonably difficult.”
The sentiment was shared by others, who agreed there was certainly a strain involved this year, especially for those who had to forego travelling to see their families.
“I work in publishing, and the dual impact of both job instability and the rising cost of living has meant it’s been near impossible to scrape by this year. As a result, I’m foregoing travelling to see my family this Christmas and spending the season at home where my partner and I plan to exchange low-key gifts,” Kirsty, 32, said.
Mitch, 24, was among several people PEDESTRIAN.TV spoke to who admitted to DIY-ing gifts this year instead of buying new ones, in order to save money. Caitie, 26, said she’d had to cut corners in other areas of her life — like not filling her car’s petrol tank all the way and eating cheaper meals — in order to maintain her Christmas spending.
Others also shared that they had to switch up how the gave Christmas gifts this year in order to afford it.
“My family changed to a secret Santa this year because a lot of us can’t buy gifts for all the members of our family because of how expensive it’s gotten,” said Taiya, 28.
Lauren, 28, found herself in the same boat.
“This year I’ve swapped all gift giving (aside from the one gift I give to my partner) to Kris Kringle swaps to save money,” she said.
“My friends and I have made the spending limit a lot less too, opting for silly gifts under $20 for each other. My partner and I have decided to work as much as we can over the break to accrue leave and save money over the break too, meaning we’ve had to pull out of various plans over the break.”
Despite the hurdles we’re facing in these stressful times, it’s actually pretty reassuring to see young Aussies band together and swap ideas of how to creatively maintain the Christmas spirit when it seems the universe is hell-bent on otherwise.
Say what you will about the younger generation, but we’re a resourceful bunch.