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Seasonal Spending

Christmas often delivers a king hit to finances when you’re on a fixed income, and as if that wasn’t enough, then comes the summer holidays. This time of year often stretches us financially, as we tend to entertain and go out more.

Here are 10 ways to help manage the seasonal spend so you can still feel merry once the New Year is behind you:

Plan ahead

If you put away a few dollars in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the holiday season won’t feel like such a harsh time of year for your hip-pocket.

Decide how much you want to spend on gifts in total and then set a limit for each person. Keep an eye out for specials and shop well before Christmas Eve to avoid spending under pressure. Let your fingers do the walking by checking prices online to try and avoid the impulse buy.

De-clutter and sell unwanted items

The old-fashioned garage sale or posting some no-longer-needed items on eBay can be great ways to generate a little extra cash when you need it most.

Holiday early or late

As retirees, there’s no need to hit the holiday zones when everyone else does. Avoid the peak periods and plan time away in early December or February. This will help keep travel costs down.

Give in kind

There are plenty of ways to give without spending lots of cash. Personal gifts can be much more thoughtful than off the shelf items. Think about making a personalised gift or baking something special for the grandkids.

Suggest a Kris Kringle

If your family is growing exponentially, with grandkids sprouting up all over the place, there’s nothing wrong with suggesting a Kris Kringle where each person buys for just one other person or buying shared presents for the family. KK can be lots of fun when trying to guess who bought what.

Divvy up the food and drink contributions

If the cost of entertaining at Christmas is weighing heavily on your budget, keep it casual or ask everyone to contribute something to the food or drink menu. 

Spread the cost

Instead of scrambling to pay for everything at once, take advantage of payment methods that let you spread the cost.

Lay-by is one way to stagger the cost of Christmas over a period of four to six weeks, whether you’re paying for flights or toys for the grandkids.

Pay some now and some later

While you may generally prefer a cash-only Christmas, allowing yourself to use a credit card for some items can help ease the stress of paying for everything by December 25. Stick to what you can pay off when the credit card bill comes in February, and you can do it without paying any extra interest. 

Work your discounts

If you have memberships that come with discounts or benefits, or rewards that could be used to buy gift cards, these can be handy ways to manage the cost of Christmas spending, but always remember to check the fine print.

Think simplicity

Keep decorations and wrapping simple (recycle, upcycle, or reuse) and focus on what is really important: getting together with family and friends during the holiday season.