Budgeting on a pension: Simple ways to make gift-giving less stressful

Sep 05, 2019
Here's how to save money so you can treat your grandkids. Source: Getty. (models posed for picture)

There’s nothing quite like treating your grandkids, whether it’s for their birthday, a special day or just because. But your generosity can easily get the best of you if you don’t plan accordingly. Gift giving can be particularly tricky for pensioners and retirees who often have to be more mindful with their money than others. Luckily we’ve found some great ways to save money, as well as simple tips for building your budget this year:

Make the most of age-related benefits

For Australian retirees it can be difficult to make ends meet, let alone buy a special gift, with just the Age Pension or superannuation payments to rely on, but did you know that you can access a whole host of offers and discounts tailored to over-60s just by signing up for a free Seniors Card?

Each state and territory has its own Seniors Card scheme and some reciprocal arrangements are in place that allow you to use your card in other states. Completely free of charge, the Seniors Card entitles you to concessional transport prices as well as discounts on a range of goods and services at a number of participating businesses and retailers across the country. To be eligible you must be a resident of the state, 60 years of age or over and not working more than a set number of hours per week in paid employment.

Open up a seperate bank account

Creating a seperate account for your gift and lifestyle expenses is a great way to keep an eye on your savings. Even it’s a little amount every fortnight or month, over time you’ll accumulate a nice sum to go towards a special gift or a fun outing with your grandkids.

A great tip is to set up a recurring transfer plan, so you never have to worry about transferring again. If you’re not sure how to set one up, we’d recommend speaking with your bank.

Make your own gifts

It seems so easy to buy a ready-made present for everyone in your life but if you have a big family, it can get very costly. So why not make presents? The internet has thousands of ideas for making cheap, heartfelt gifts. This can include cards as well, which your grandchildren will love. Most important of all, you can make a meaningful gift that is unique to that person.

Find hidden bargains at the supermarket

Who doesn’t love a supermarket markdown? Turns out you can find some great ones if you shop at a specific time every week. In fact noon and closing time are the best times to bag a bargain. Grocery items like bread, meat and fruit are all cleared at this time, as is fish and deli items.

Meanwhile, buying food in large quantities is also a great way to save money, as some items are heavily discounted when purchased in bulk. Some foods ideal for bulk shopping include frozen vegetables, meat and poultry and bread.

Pay your bills in advance

Put whatever you can every week towards your electricity or gas bill, even if it is just $5. You’ll be surprised how far ahead you may get. Another idea for bills is to have an account especially for them where your direct debits come out of. Add up your yearly expenses and divide by 26 (how many times you get the Age Pension) for the amount to budget each fortnight. If you have any queries, we’d recommend speaking with a banking professional before setting up an account.

Sell up

Selling your used items is a great way to make some extra cash on the side! Let’s face it: as we get older, we accumulate more stuff, some of it we don’t really need. We bet there’s at least a few items in your house that you could sell and earn yourself some cash. Why not hold a garage sale or even sell your items on Gumtree? It’s free.

Plus, if you’re handy with arts and crafts and have the time, why not sell your homemade creations through sites like Etsy or set up a store at the markets? It may not make you big money, but it can be great for a bit of extra cash on the side.

Important information: The information provided on this website is of a general nature and for information purposes only. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not financial product advice and must not be relied upon as such. Before making any financial decision you should determine whether the information is appropriate in terms of your particular circumstances and seek advice from an independent licensed financial services professional.

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Have you tried any of these tips? Do you have any good ones that have worked for you?

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