Hidden Holiday Expenses

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

The holidays are rapidly approaching — is your budget ready?

Virtually everyone spends a lot of money around the holidays. No matter which holidays you celebrate, no matter your traditions, this is an expensive time of year. Is there any way enjoy your holidays without ending up in the poor house come January? Here are some hidden expenses that you may be able to avoid this holiday season:

Wrapping up savings

Gifts are the priciest expense category of any holiday. Consider these tips for possible savings:

  • Measure the worth of a gift by the thoughtfulness that went into it rather than its price tag. Employ your creativity to come up with the right gift for the recipient instead of assigning an “appropriate” monetary amount.
  • Stocking stuffers represent a slow leak in your gift budget. A couple dollars here and there add up quickly to substantial bucks. Choose stocking stuffers carefully.
  • Make a holiday shopping list at home. Plan as few shopping excursions as possible to minimize your exposure to the stores’ holiday atmosphere which is designed to entice you to buy, buy, buy. Limiting your time among the holiday shopping frenzy will help you avoid the temptation to buy “just one more thing” at every store.
  • Maximize your gift-giving dollars. Rather than buying inexpensive individual gifts for someone, consider chipping in an affordable amount with a group of others to purchase a costlier gift from several parties.
  • Shop for holiday gifts all year long. Many items may be cheaper at other times of the year so it makes good sense to purchase them when they are most affordable and put them aside for Holiday gifting. Spreading out your gift budget throughout the year eases your expenses at the Holidays.

Save on the festivities

Remember the rest of the celebration — food, decor, gift wrapping and special events. Here are some ways to save on the rest of the holiday celebrations:

  • Check for supplies left over from last year: wrapping paper, cards, ribbon. We often have extra holiday items left over but forget by the time the next year rolls around. Take stock of what you already have on hand to avoid unnecessary purchases.
  • Make your own gift tags out of recycled cards from last year. One of the most unnecessary Holiday items to purchase are gift tags. While they are typically inexpensive, you can save their cost altogether by cutting out attractive “tags” from the cards you received last year.
  • Limit holiday-themed products. While they may be festive, you typically get less and pay more for special packaging.
  • Make a holiday donation budget. Although the holidays are about giving, a dollar in this bucket and a dollar in that one amounts to more than you realize when you’re in that generous frame of mind. Get your donation budget in small bills and keep them separate from your other cash so you can keep track of how much you donate.
  • Extra household expenses. Holiday lights, extra baking and special foods for entertaining make the season bright but keep in mind that they mean extra expenses too.
  • Non-routine expenses. You will be doing different things over the holidays that are not included in your budget the rest of the year. Take into consideration such additional expenses as dining out or take-out meals because you’re pressed for time, parking fees, babysitting costs and postage to mail cards and gifts.

Celebrating the holidays doesn’t have to wreck havoc your budget. You can have a joyful yet  fiscally responsible holiday by remaining aware of the expenses lurking behind the festivities.

Bonus Tip:

Another way to save on your monthly Internet and TV costs is to find a current ATT U-Verse coupon code or at least a promotion to knock down your home service bill.

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