How to handle financial pressures during the holiday season

During the holiday season, it’s tempting to throw financial caution to the wind and overindulge in your spending. After all, it’s not an everyday event, you want to experience the holiday fun, and everyone else is doing it!

At this moment, the pressure to overspend can take hold.

The desire to buy gifts for everyone, travel to exotic destinations and attend every holiday party you’ve been invited to can be overwhelming. But can you afford it?

You don’t have to give in to overspending if your financial situation doesn’t allow it. Let’s look at some simple tips and tricks from our team of financial advisers, so you can avoid falling into that trap.

But first, here’s what you’ll enjoy when you overcome making financial mistakes during the holiday seasons:

  • Peace of mind. No more conforming to the holiday norm of spending when you can’t afford it.
  • You’ll save money if you follow the principles we’ll teach you to spend less during the holiday season.
  • You’ll learn positive money habits, like budgeting, which apply not just to the holiday season but all year round.

So how do you unlock these benefits? 


1 – Identify the source of your financial pressure

Once you locate the cause of your financial pressure, you’ll know what to eliminate or modify to enjoy your holiday season without burdens.

High expectations are the main cause of financial pressure during holiday seasons, as psychotherapist Fe Robinson explains:

“People at this time of the year feel pressure. The pressure to please can leave you responding to a whole series of shoulds, oughts and musts that may feel pretty miserable.”
Fe Robinson

What are these “shoulds”, “oughts” and “musts“ she’s talking about? They manifest in several ways: 

  • Attending every event you’re invited to during holidays.
  • Travelling to expensive, or too many, destinations in one holiday. 
  • Buying multiple, expensive gifts for family members and relatives. 
  • Impulse-buying due to the fear of missing out on seasonal deals.
  • Wanting to be the perfect host and spending extravagantly on visitors.
  • Limit travel to only what you can afford. 

When it comes to buying gifts, no matter how tempted you are by the “only 11 left in stock” messages, don’t give in. It’s just a clever trick used by marketers to create a sense of urgency. 

If you have people over during the holiday season, it can be tempting to try and be the best host by preparing elegant meals and going all out for your guests. But it shouldn’t cost your entire paycheck.

Find affordable entertainment activities and places to go in your area. Websites like Tripadvisor can help you locate average-priced venues with five-star ratings. 

Also, browse the internet for simple yet presentable meals to prepare for your guests when on a budget, such as these:

  • Spaghetti with meatballs and cherry tomatoes
  • Bacon, mozzarella and baked bean jaffles
  • Spicy chickpeas with soppressata and eggs

Look for other ways to cut costs, like the 40.3% of Australians who’ve said they will spend less this Christmas by lowering their energy bills.


Percentage of Australians

How they plan to cut back on energy bills


Will hang up few or no Christmas lights


Will not use an extra fridge or freezer during Christmas


Will use their air conditioner only when necessary


Will completely switch off appliances at the wall sockets


Will rely on solar panels as a source of household energy

Once you locate the cause of your financial pressures and fix them, you’ll find that this holiday season won’t be such a burden.


2 – Make a budget – and stick to it!

A budget helps you handle financial pressure that results from buying what you don’t need. It’s your friend during the holiday season, helping you note what you need to buy, including the estimated cost.


Holiday season budget planner

Your budget can include travel, food, clothes, decorations and entertainment, but gifts will be a major component.

In fact, gifts are the one issue that requires extensive budgeting for the majority of people during the holiday season. 

In 2021, Finder estimated that gifts were at the top of the Christmas list, with an estimated $374 spent per person.

It’s helpful first to find out how much money you have, then make a list of all the gifts you wish to buy and their estimated cost.

This simple act of budgeting will reduce extra shopping expenses because you’ll have a rough idea of how much you have to spend. A gift budget planner template will help you plan accordingly and stick to your budget. 


Holiday season savings ideas

When budgeting, find ways of saving more money elsewhere during the gift-giving season. Some examples include:

  • Use coupons and put the money you’ve saved in an emergency fund instead of dipping into it to buy more gifts.
  • Ask your family and friends which gifts they want most. Some people want one simple gift, and you’ll save more money than if you bought expensive gifts they don’t need.
  • Be creative and hand out homemade gifts such as ornaments, candles, crocheted items or food.
  • Shop early. Roughly 29% of Australian shoppers start their Christmas shopping in November compared to the 6% who start in December. You’ll save more when you shop early.

When you do finally start shopping, stick to your budget. Head straight to the items on your list because if you linger for too long, you’ll end up with extra goodies in your cart.

Budgeting apps are another way to keep track of your spending habits and transactions. Some popular ones in Australia include Frollo and MoneyBrilliant.

If you don’t budget, that extra $5 spent here and another $5 spent there soon add up to a substantial amount of money. But, with a budget in place, saving is easier.

3 – Consult a financial adviser

Wouldn’t it be great to have someone take on the burden of financial planning during the holiday season? Anthony Poole, Principal Financial Adviser from Poole Advisory, can ease the burden.

Financial advisers work with all kinds of clients and will work closely with you to win the war against overspending during the holiday season.

This is how a financial adviser can help you manage your holiday spending.

  • Analyse your cash flow management: Together, you and Anthony can look at your income, savings, investments and job security, to give you an idea of where you are with your earning and spending habits.
  • Teach you positive money habits: A financial adviser can coach you on how to develop good spending habits by helping you see beyond holiday shopping and start sustaining good money practices all year round.
  • Help you avoid debt: With Poole Advisory, get some coaching on how not to heap purchases on your credit card just because online shopping is easily available. Avoid leaving you in debt and worsen your financial situation.
  • Help you set up a holiday season fund: Learn how to save over a period of time using a fund, and how the money will be used to ease the financial burden during the holiday seasons.

If you’ve tried to plan your budget during the holiday season but just can’t figure out how to allocate money, a financial planner will help you put your finances in order.


How can Poole Advisory help you handle holiday financial pressures?

Poole Advisory believes that knowledge is power. We will help you handle all the financial pressures you encounter during the holiday season.

You’ll understand cash flow management techniques and processes after the Poole Advisory team has analysed your budget expenditure to understand your spending habits.

You’ll also receive a thorough analysis of your budget plan to see where you can improve to help you save money during the holiday season.

“Anthony, with his planning skills, has guided us on a journey that has been beneficial for our future financial planning.”
Michael M

Get in touch with Poole Advisory today to learn more about how to conquer financial pressure during the holiday season.


Frequently asked questions


Why do holidays come with financial pressure?

Holidays don’t come with financial pressure. The pressure results from spending more money than you can afford on gifts, travel, shopping for clothes and indulging in entertainment, which leaves some people in debt.

How can you avoid overspending during holidays?

You can avoid overspending by identifying where you overspend (perhaps in buying gifts or travelling). Then create a budget that limits which items or activities you can indulge in and the maximum amount you can spend on each one.

Can a financial adviser help me plan for the holiday season?

Yes. A financial adviser will help you identify where you overspend during the holiday season. They’ll help you create a budget that will limit how much you spend and show you how to stick to the budget.


Compliance Disclaimer:

This information contains general advice only, that is, advice which does not take into account your needs, objectives, or financial situation. You need to consider the appropriateness of that general advice in light of your personal circumstances before acting on the advice. You should obtain and consider the Product Disclosure Statement for any product discussed before making a decision to acquire that product. You should obtain financial or credit advice that addresses your specific needs and situation before making investment or borrowing decisions. Taxation information is based on our interpretation of the relevant laws as at 1 July 2018. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this information, Prosperitas Partners Pty Ltd does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information. The case studies are hypothetical, for illustration purposes only and are not based on actual returns

Poole Advisory Pty Ltd ABN 15 642 040 604 is a Corporate Authorised Representative (No. 001282603) of Prosperitas Partners Pty Ltd ABN 30 662 654 453 AFSL 544 917

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