Holiday Budget: The 5 Hidden Holiday Costs
Make a list, check it twice…and don’t forget to add the wrapping paper! Because of purchases we might classify as “hidden” or just forgotten costs, it can quickly become the most expensive time of year. Keep your budget on track this holiday season by considering the following additional costs:
1. Lights. Decorating for the holiday season typically means opening boxes with special trinkets and items used from years past to get us through this year, too. For my family, this means plugging in the tree and outdoor lights to see if they are working. Of course, it never fails as there usually one strand with a bulb or more out that needs replacing.
How to solve this cost: Check out your lights and necessary decorations as early as October and include additional dollars in your budget for replacement, as needed.
2. Electricity. All those beautiful lights and plug-in sceneries shouldn’t use so much extra electricity that you’re monthly bill is sky-high, but consider the amount of decorating you do at home. It will affect your bill.
How to solve this cost: I am a personal fan of “less is more” with my electric decorations. But if you like bringing extra light to a room this time of year, think about investing in battery-operated lights and décor. It will prevent more plugging-in, and you’ll be more invested in remember to shut everything off before heading to bed.
3. Wrapping paper. This is a huge cost-culprit in my home. After making our holiday purchases, I take them home and hide them until a week or so before putting them under the tree wrapped…and forget to buy anything to wrap them in. (And the really sturdy paper always costs more, which is a separate bothersome issue.)
How to solve this cost: When shopping for your gifts, pick up the wrapping paper and/or gift bags along the way. It will encourage you to sneak the packaging with the gifts until it’s time to wrap everything up and will go into your gift budget at the same time.
4. Food. This time of year typically means more gatherings with friends and family…and more food to bring to each event! Grocery bills tend to rise as we prepare for celebrating the next six weeks.
How to solve this cost: Collaborate with family and friends and rotate the food “duties” for gatherings. If you need to bring a turkey to one party, ask if you can bring a side dish to the next one. Budget with your family and see what food costs are right for you.
5. Cards. Recently, I was suggested a photo of my son for a Christmas card and I instantly replied, “Thanks! We may do an electronic holiday card, but it’s not in our budget to mail cards.” Don’t be afraid to change your methods for spreading cheer.
How to solve this cost: Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you know close family would appreciate a mailed, handwritten card, then include it in your holiday budget. Everyone else will be okay knowing you’re still thinking of them with another form of a seasonal greeting.
What are some of your hidden holiday costs you’ve recently uncovered? Tell us in the comment section below!