Ben Lyons, 7, with his siblings Stephanie, 4, Christie, 6 and Mitchell, 9.
Ben Lyons, 7, with his siblings Stephanie, 4, Christie, 6 and Mitchell, 9.

Parents to spend big on kids

YOU can't put a price tag on enjoyment, explains one Warwick mum, who will spend less on her kids this Christmas than the state average.

But Jacinta Lyons makes no excuses for her cautious approach to festive season spending.

“Different kids enjoy different things,” she said.

“It is certainly not all about money.”

Yet she knows she has outlaid less than the latest retail survey, which indicates Queensland parents will spend on average $218 per child this Christmas.

The second annual Kmart Giving Index shows Australian parents will spend an average of $235 per child, which is a slight increase from the 2009 figure of $227.

Research also shows the older the parent, the bigger the spender with mums and dads in the 35 to 49-year-old bracket forking out an average $280 per child.

Meanwhile younger parents in the 18 to 24 age group are the most conservative and are said to be putting aside just $123 per child this Christmas.

For Mrs Lyons, whose husband is self employed in the building sector, being careful with the gift allowance has been a lifelong habit.

This year she estimates she would have spent close to $200 each on her two oldest sons who are aged seven and nine.

But gifts for her little girls, who are younger, would have worked out at less than $100 each.

“How much we spend isn't reflective of how much we love our kids,” Mrs Lyons said.

“I am sure what we have bought will bring the same level of joy to all our children.”

She said her shopping list this year included a mix of books, toys and outdoor and sporting gear.

“A lot of our basic costs, like electricity, have really gone up so like a lot of families we have to watch where our money goes,” Mrs Lyons said.

While other Warwick families briefly surveyed agreed the $200 amount was “about right” one local grandmother referred to the outlay as “indulgent”.

The Rose City nanna, who withheld her name to avoid the wrath of her grandchildren, said Christmas spending was out of control.

“Kids don't need hundreds of dollars worth of new toys,” she said.

“They need time with and the attention of their parents.

“Parents are putting gifts on their credit cards to keep up.

“It is ridiculous.”

On the street front many local retailers reported slow trade.

But sports store owner Danny Lyons said business had picked up significantly this week.

He said the queues had renewed hope many shoppers had left Christmas shopping until the last minute.

Our festive spending

QLD parents will spend an average $218 per child

Down from the national average of $235 per child

One in three parents will spend under $100 per child

One in five parents will fork out $300+ per child

Most of us will donate less to charities


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