Making the most of the summer holidays and celebrating the festive season can make the wallet seem quite a lot lighter.
A local organisation is offering a few tips for keeping the budget under control over summer and getting ready for the new school year.
Rotorua Budget Advisory Service manager Pakanui Tuhura says that rather than putting money into perishable toys that are easily discarded, consider investing your money in relationships and building great memories.
"With overseas travel restricted there has never been a better time to see what New Zealand has to offer and many attractions, such as beaches, are free.
"Remember, though, that wherever you go or whatever you do, go prepared as safety in our outdoors is always paramount.
"Why not make some New Year resolutions such as starting a 2021 Supermarket Christmas Club? Save a few dollars a week for something you want or want to do later in the year, or even make a decision to come and see us.
"Be optimistic and plan for positive things in 2021. I for one, will be glad to see the back of 2020. Money can be a trigger to a lot of negative behaviour so get control of it and that will be one less thing to worry or stress over."
He says a tip for when the kids are going back to school is to talk to the schools, as they may be able to help with second-hand uniforms or ways to minimise costs, such as a lunch-in-school programme, saving on food.
"Try to have some savings ready to go when school costs hit in early February.
"Probably the biggest tip I can give is to come in and see us. It's free, non-judgmental and confidential, and the advice you get is customised to your financial situation."
Pakanui says the beginning and middle of 2020 was very slow, but things have started to pick up since September.
He says Covid-19 had affected the budget advisory service in terms of face-to-face contacts, and its group discussions and education only started to regather momentum in the middle of December.
"During lockdown we found only a many of our clients did not have sufficient data/credit to do Zoom-type appointments.
"Also, during lockdown people seemed to be better off as they were restricted to spending their money on necessities [food, accommodation and electricity] as well as the [aid from] Government's wage subsidies, rent freezes and mortgagee help.
"Now that help is being withdrawn, we are starting to see Covid-19 fallout."
Pakanui says KiwiSaver hardship applications and relationship breakups - due in part to household money management - were probably the most common issues during the year.
"Again, there were impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic."
Pakanui says, looking forward in 2021, his goals for the Rotorua Budget Advisory are to remain relevant, reflect and respond to the Rotorua community's needs.
"To provide a service that is compassionate, of high quality and is accessed by people from all parts of the community.
"Finally, to build strong and resilient collaborative relationships with other social services and businesses in Rotorua. To help as many people as possible."