You’ve made a budget for your holiday expenses. While shopping for gifts, you are doing a pretty good job sticking to that budget. But here and there things will pop up that you realize you forgot to budget for. What are these easy-to-forget holiday season costs that can pop up and ruin your budget?
WiseBread has a list of 13 of these under-the-radar expenses:
- Postage for Holiday Greeting Cards. This can really add up! You probably included in your budget the purchase price of cards with your family picture on it. But did you include the postage? At $.49 each, if you send out 100 cards that’s $49 in the hole on your budget.
- End-of-Year Tips for Service Professionals. Don’t forget to factor in these “holiday bonuses” for all those who serve you throughout the year. Whether it’s your mail carrier (by law they can’t take cash gifts but can receive presents or gift cards worth less than $20), your pet groomer or any other service provider, don’t be a miser and show them your appreciation.
- Holiday Babysitting Premiums. Some babysitters charge premium prices during the holidays. Plus there are often more parties you will be invited to, thus more babysitting expenses than usual. Add it in your budget.
- Personal Upkeep and Grooming. With all the extra parties, you may like to make sure you have a fresh haircut and your manicure looks good. Plan accordingly financially.
- Increased Gas and Electric Bills. The temperature plummets outside thus costing more to heat your home. That beautiful light display on your house and in your yard makes your electric bill go up. To cut costs, turn your heat down at night (you sleep better when it’s slightly colder anyway) and put your lights on a timer. But even then, plan on the increase in your gas and electric bills. Don’t let it take you by surprise every year.
- Higher-Than-Normal Grocery Bills. Whether you host a holiday party or are invited to several and asked to bring food, it can get expensive. Not only that, all your favorite snacks in holiday packaging can also add up to a higher-than-normal grocery bill.
- Hidden-In-Plain-Sight Travel Costs. You’ve budgeted for the holiday flight, hotel, rental car and gas. But what about tips to porters, curbside check-in personnel, airport parking and the higher-than-it-should-be costs of food and drink purchases at the airport? More budget busters if you aren’t prepared.
- Dining Out More Than Usual. With all the holiday activities like shopping and parties and kids activities, you are on the go more thus more likely to grab a bite to eat while on your way. Try to keep it in check as much as possible.
- Gas For All That Extra Driving. You’ll need gas for your car for all that on-the-go driving. Expect to fill up the tank more than usual.
- Post Office/Delivery Fees for Gifts. There’s no free shipping for those gifts you purchased at a brick and mortar store and now want to ship to family or friends. It’s not cheap. Even a modest size package can cost over $20. Either budget for it or buy it online with free shipping and have it sent directly to your gift recipient.
- Stocking Stuffers. Even a stocking filled only with candy can cost $10. Add lip balm, earbuds and other tiny but pricey gifts and it can easily cost $50.
- Boarding Pets That Can’t Travel With You. If your pet can’t travel with you, be prepared to pay a holiday premium for this service.
- Last-Minute Host/Hostess Gifts. Pick up appropriate host(ess) gifts while they are on sale. Don’t show up to a party empty-handed. Chocolates are always a good idea.
Prepare yourself by planning for these overlooked holiday-season costs so your spirit and stay merry and bright.
For the full article from WiseBread, click here.