5 Frugal Holiday Strategies for Retirees

Here is how retirees are stretching their fixed incomes this year.


Almost half of retirees (47 percent) plan to spend between $101 and $500 this holiday season. But only 15 percent of seniors plan to spend $100 or less, according to a recent Harris Interactive online survey of 528 retirees age 60 and over commissioned by Principal Financial Group. Many of the retirees surveyed (39 percent) are aiming to spend less money than they did last year for the holidays. Here are a few strategies retirees say they are employing to stay within their holiday budget this year.

[See 10 Key Retirement Ages to Plan For.]

Spend less per gift. The most popular money-saving strategy among retirees is to select more inexpensive gifts. Some 39 percent of retirees say they are aiming to spend less per person this year.

Buy for fewer people. Gift-giving lists are also getting trimmed. Just under a third of retirees (31 percent) are scaling back on the number of people they buy gifts for.

Travel less. Almost a quarter (24 percent) of seniors say they are giving up traveling this holiday season or choosing a more affordable mode of transportation.

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Not hosting a holiday party. Holiday entertaining can be expensive. Many retirees (24 percent) are planning to let other friends and relatives host holiday gatherings this year.

Homemade gifts. Instead of purchasing gifts, some retirees (9 percent) are planning to give handcrafted gifts, baked goods, and other items they have made themselves.

[See 11 Retirement Resolutions for 2011.]

Another common year-end tradition, making new year’s resolutions, is growing unpopular among retirees. Nearly half (47 percent) of retirees don’t intend to make any resolutions for the coming year, compared to 29 percent of working Americans, Principal found. Among the retirees who have made resolutions for 2011, the top self-improvement strategies are to reduce their spending by a specific amount each month (19 percent), pay off credit card debt (17 percent), and put a set amount of money into savings each month (15 percent).