The Northern Advocate

Reducing the rising cost of Christmas

Inflation busting tips to bring cheer

- Angela Woods

As inflation pushes the cost of Christmas up, some Northlande­rs are desperate to cut the cost of festivitie­s.

Dianne Harris, Whangārei Anglican Care Centre financial mentor co-ordinator, said some of her clients would be missing out this year.

“The clients we are seeing are obviously finding the thought of Christmas quite challengin­g, but they are prepared to go without to make Christmas work.”

She offered a number of suggestion­s for people to cut spending over the festive season, including putting a limit on the cost of presents and gifting homemade items.

For Christmas dinners, Harris recommende­d pot luck and having guests bring their own drinks.

She said some of her clients have planned in advance and put aside money every week during the year for Christmas spending.

“Some of the clients (especially those with regular incomes) have taken on board the suggestion of looking around and buying their gifts when specials are offered throughout the year, so that the pressure of Christmas doesn’t become overwhelmi­ng.”

Harris said she and her fellow financial mentors believed people were starting to make better choices.

“Last year some of our clients were noticeably more aware of the need to be organised and as the year has progressed they are trying to curtail their spending. At the beginning of last year, we didn’t see the usual number of clients needing help for overspendi­ng.”

However, they have also noticed an increase in people using ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes, Harris said.

With increasing inflation, some clients were more aware of the need to look at spending, but some were ignoring increased costs and buying as usual, she added.

Harris advised that while there was nothing people could do about increasing prices, priorities and planning were important.

One of her clients was writing a list of presents they needed to buy, putting down a price limit and ticking them as they went to avoid overspendi­ng.

A survey by financial informatio­n website Banked showed 60 per cent of New Zealanders said they were stressed about Christmas expenditur­e.

Nearly half described themselves as “a little stressed”, and 14 per cent as “very stressed”. Women were more stressed than men, with 70 per cent reporting some amount of stress over Christmas spending.

The survey, of 1020 people, showed they planned to spend an average of $623 on gifts alone this year. 5 ways to cut costs at Christmas

1. Don’t feel obligated to spend beyond your means

2. Secret Santa or group gifting

3. Set a budget (and stick to it)

4. Be smart about credit

5. Stock up for next Christmas (on wrapping paper, cards decoration­s and gifts in post-Christmas sales) Source:Banked

On average, men planned to spend more than women – $712 rather than $566.

“With rocketing inflation and a cost of living crisis to contend with, lots of New Zealanders are really feeling the pinch this Christmas,” Kevin McHugh, head of publishing at Banked, said.

“Many will be worrying about their personal finances when they should be able to wind down and appreciate some well-earned time off with friends and loved ones.”

McHugh’s top ways to save over

Christmas were through group gifting or Secret Santas, setting a budget and not feeling obliged to spend beyond your means.

The survey showed more than half (55.6 per cent) of people would use money they have saved to pay for Christmas. Just over 20 per cent would use credit cards, and 16.6 per cent ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes.

A Retirement Commission found 58 per cent of New Zealanders could not cover an unexpected expense equating to one month’s income, and 33 per cent would have to borrow money within three months if their income dropped by a third.

The AA has warned that the increased cost of petrol - around 50 cents more than last summer - meant road trips would be significan­tly more expensive than last year.

AA Smartfuel co-founder Ian Sutcliffe said people should save their fuel discounts rather than use them every time, as this would result in paying less in the long run.

He also recommende­d filling up on Wednesdays, when discounts were available at petrol stations.

Eleven teams from Northland will be using their smarts to assemble underwater robots that will battle it out for the title of the best Aquabot in the country tomorrow. The teams from Northland will be competing in the National Aquabot Finals in Tauranga. The region is well represente­d with teams from Matarau, Parua Bay and Tangiteror­ia Schools and Kamo High School. Bay of Islands College and Opua School are travelling south as well. From the Far North, two teams from Panguru are making the eight hour journey.Winners from the event will earn qualificat­ion to the Internatio­nal finals in the US.

The trial of Northland’s “tooth fairy” in the Kaikohe District Court has been adjourned. A date is expected to be set in March next year when the judge will release a decision regarding the trial of Claire Wihongi-Matene, 43, dubbed the “tooth fairy” by local supporters. Wihongi-Matene faces seven charges brought by the Ministry of Health in April 2019 – one alleging she claimed to be a health practition­er; six for allegedly performing a restricted activity. She is understood to have made and repaired dentures from her home on Mangakahia Rd, south of Kaikohe.

A major fundraisin­g event at BaySport stadium in Waipapa today aims to help a member of the inline hockey community in his battle against cancer. Jimmy’s Puck Off to Cancer will start at noon with a six-hour hockey game, food stalls, silent auctions and raffles. Money raised will help pay for unfunded medical treatment for Kerikeri player Jimmy Hawes, 32, who has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The Stingrays, Northland’s inline hockey team, hope to raise $20,000.

Cool temperatur­es expected despite it now being summer. This weekend will be dry for most as a ridge of high pressure starts to develop over the North Island. MetService warned the ‘fresh’ airmass we are currently experienci­ng present is set to linger.

 ?? PHOTO / MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM ?? Dianne Harris, Whangarei Anglican Care Centre financial mentor co-ordinator.
PHOTO / MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM Dianne Harris, Whangarei Anglican Care Centre financial mentor co-ordinator.

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