Manage Your Retirement Money for Holiday Spending
Many retirees are facing a very unusual holiday this year, with changes caused by COVID that have required smaller functions, if any at all. Many people’s finances have been impacted significantly, including many seniors. Manage your retirement funds carefully as they affect you for years to come.
Let's discuss how you could manage your holiday spending, avoid financial difficulties, and manage your retirement funds for the 2021 holiday season.
Adjust your budget
If you had a budget set for the upcoming holidays, you should review it closely. With all the changes around us, you may have to adjust your plans, and so will many of your family. Check with family members if you plan a gathering to see what changes they are planning before you set anything in stone.
Set a budget for all gift-giving
Depending on your current financial status and what you think it will be in the coming months, you may be seeing more family than you did last year. If family members have lost jobs or seen their income drop, they may not want to (or be able to) exchange gifts as in the past. If their budget is lower (or yours is too), then make sure to have that conversation soon so everyone can plan accordingly. Just getting together can be the greatest gift of all and exchanging presents is not always a must.
Evaluate holiday meals
If you usually have children and/or grandchildren, come for holiday meals you may want to plan well in advance. You can even buy and cook certain items in advance to spread your food costs over a longer period to better fit your budget. And consider cutting out a few things. We all tend to have too much food for meals like Thanksgiving, which increases your costs for a holiday. Consider having everyone bring a dish too. Spreading the cost among family members can be a big help to all.
Shift travel funds
If you already have plane tickets, hotel reservations, etc., you might need to check to get reimbursed as much as possible. Please do it now, as the closer you get to the actual date, the harder it will be to get a refund. Most airlines and motels/hotels know the tough conditions economically, but that does not mean they will just give you a full refund. Driving? You may find ways to save money by staying at a less costly place and cut some food costs by bringing some food in a cooler.
Look for ways to save
If you hold large parties like a New Year's Eve one, consider skipping a year. Everyone will understand we are in difficult times. This could save you a lot of money this year.
Budget and watch your credit card charges
As noted above, set a budget per person. If possible, do not charge except when you must. The extra interest will add up fast and place more of a burden on you.
Take advantage of extra sales
Managing money in retirement can be a challenge, but you may save a lot of money by shopping smart. Most retailers have gone away from a big Black Friday sale to avoid large crowds. Many of them are offering great deals both in-store and online well in advance of Thanksgiving, and a lot of the deals extend to Christmas. And more purchases are now made online than in-store. You can get fabulous deals online throughout the fall months. Shop carefully and only buy from sellers you recognize. Scams are on the rise, so be careful where you purchase.
Finally, if you can, get help to manage your retirement money. If you have a CPA or financial planner you work with, they may assist you in your planning your expenditures for the upcoming holidays. Do not be afraid to ask for some advice or just an opinion from financial experts.
No matter your situation, a little planning, and good communication can make this coming holiday season great and one to remember for years to come.