Why You Really Spend More in December

The festive season can be financially taxing and it’s easy to let your holiday spending get away from you. To become more conscious of our habits, we’ve unpacked 5 psychological reasons behind December’s spending surge and outlined practical tips to prevent even more excessive spending.

The Season to be Jolly

You’d have to be a Grinch to resist the shiny decorations, catchy tunes, delicious smells and festive nibbles, right? The festive season demands a festive spirit. But often, we use this jolly season as an excuse to live large and splurge on things we wouldn’t usually.

Shopping centers, online advertising, TV and radio stations blast the seasonal songs that fuel this festivity and keep us feeling happy-go-lucky and ripe for spending. This can have a direct effect on our brain’s pleasure center and influence the satisfaction we get from the “thrill of the buy” when our brains are flooded with dopamine.

Get Stressed to Impress

During National Savings Month in July, we focused on the effect of Conspicuous Spending but this sentiment rings true all the way through the year. In December there’s even more of a heightened pressure to keep up with the Joneses, their Christmas tree, their festive table spread and their gifts.

Hosting a dinner party can get very expensive very quickly if you’re trying to live up to the standards or decorations, matching candles and crackers. Family can add extra stress if there’s a competitive streak among you. Many shoppers also believe it’s more important to spend money on loved ones than it is to stay within a budget – but who wins at the end of the day? People have higher expectations in December – for themselves, their hosts and their Instagram feeds.

TIP: Save time and money with a “bring and share” approach. It will add to the festive spirit, create an interesting table spread and everyone will feel included without having to do too much.

Share This