With Christmas fast approaching, the burden felt by many older Australians to spoil their grandchildren with presents or put on a lavish spread of food for the family can leave some people struggling financially as a result of overspending over the holiday period.
New research released on Tuesday revealed that one in three Australians are desperate for extra cash this Christmas, with 29 per cent of Aussies taking on jobs on the side to help ease the cost of Christmas.
The survey, carried out by Finder.com.au, also found that 30 per cent of Baby Boomers have resorted to taking on part time work or searching for other ways to make some money on the side in a bid to rake in some additional income in the countdown to December 25.
Finder’s Money Expert Bessie Hassan said: “Whether it’s for extra cash or to cover living costs, making an extra couple of hundred dollars can make a huge difference.
“Do a spring clean and sell unwanted items. Some Aussies will be looking to pick up second-hand Christmas gifts. We all want to pay for presents and parties but don’t want to end up with empty pockets or mammoth bills come January.”
Of the 2,000 people surveyed, the most common way people said they had made extra cash was by selling unwanted items online, with 21 per cent admitting to getting rid of clutter on online marketplace websites. Followed by offering their services on sites like Airtasker and taking on jobs with the likes of ride-share firm Uber.
And there are a plenty of other ways to get into the Christmas spirit without emptying your coffers entirely, particularly if you don’t want to take on extra work, with many grandparents actively taking measures to cut down their costs, including making their own presents and cooking festive foods from scratch.
Savvy Starts at 60 readers have shared some of the clever ways they limit their own spending over the holidays, from getting crafty and making their own gifts to only buying presents for younger members of the family.
“My extended family decided some years ago to buy only for the children,” Denise O’Keeffe said. “It just got too much. Nor do I think you have to spend excessive money on food. Yes, buy some things you wouldn’t normally but don’t go into debt and struggle.”
Joan Rowe said: “This Christmas there are no gifts, a $50 voucher for each of the boys ($150) and the budget is blown. The only luxury I allow is a kilo of King or Tiger prawns from Aldi. The rest I make.”
While Valerie Bush added: “You can’t ‘buy love’ and Christmas is not about how much you spend…despite the extravagant advertising lulling you into thinking spending will make Christmas better for you and the people in your life.
“The people in your life who love you are going to be thrilled with a jar of their favourite biscuits or the kids a bag of popcorn etc and the fun you inject into your special family friends day.
“Be happy for those that get ‘the big gift’, that’s okay as well, we all have different priorities. But Christmas spirit doesn’t come with a receipt. For kids, presents are presents. You don’t need stuff to have a Happy Christmas.”
An online thread on the same issue also revealed that many older people pride themselves on not getting into debt, with one woman stating: “I’m guessing, but could be wrong, that folk our age do not overspend and get into trouble.”
One user commented: “I wouldn’t ever get in to debt for Christmas. If I had only 2 or 3 pounds to spend, then that’s what I would spend.” While another said: “I have had to live within my means for a long time. I cannot afford to repay debts so am careful not to go too mad. I am lucky in that I have a partner to share some costs but we are both starting to feel the pinch of living on a limited income/our pensions. We had a lovely Christmas all the same.”