budget

Don't Forget About These 8 Hidden Costs at Christmas

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How much do you plan on spending for Christmas this year?

Okay, now how much do you really plan on spending for Christmas this year?

When it comes to Christmas, we think about the gifts. But what about everything else? Have you considered these hidden Christmas costs?

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1. Electricity

Are you competing in the neighborhood Christmas light contest? Is your front lawn visible from space during December? Let your lights shine if that’s your thing, but be prepared for the power bill spike in January. Depending on where you live, those frosty wintertime temperatures won’t help your power bill either.

2. Visitors

Every family has one. It’s the house that everyone flocks to during the holiday season. That means, at some point in December, you could have 32 people sprawled out across every room in your house. That’s 32 showers, 32 bowls of cereal, and 32 opportunities to spill a drink on your white carpet. Make sure you budget for the visitors.

3. Shipping

First, you’ve got all the stamps for your Christmas cards. Then, for the people you’ll actually be sending presents to, there are all of those pesky shipping costs. Don’t procrastinate, because shipping overnight isn’t cheap—or even guaranteed—during the Christmas season.

4. Stocking Stuffers

You’ve got the candy. Then there’s the $3 toy car and the little thingamajiggy that does the little loopty-loop in the kitchen. And don’t forget the tiny gift books. For your budget, stocking stuffers can be death by a thousand cuts. Keep it simple.

Related: Need some stocking stuffer ideas? Check out our $10 Sale here!

5. Gas

We’re talking about the kind you use while waiting in mall traffic, while traveling to the in-laws house, while doing the 4,000 things you’ve scheduled during the holidays. . . Don’t forget about the gas. Maybe you’ve noticed that it isn’t cheap!

6. Wrapping Paper

You’d be surprised at how much we spend on wrapping paper every year. Get the cheap stuff—the really cheap stuff if you can. Why spend a lot of money on something that will be ripped to shreds in less than three seconds?

7. Food

Of course, there’s party food if you’re hosting a party. But if you have overnight visitors, don’t forget about snacks and all the basics like bread, milk and bagels. It’s easy to get caught up in the "main event" food like ham and turkey and dressing while forgetting about all the other little food expenses.

8. Charity

Hopefully you haven’t forgotten about giving, so here’s our reminder: Don’t forget about giving to charity! Don’t let this be a hidden cost. Sit down right now and make giving a part of your Christmas budget.

The greatest way to avoid hidden costs is to plan ahead! Don’t let these items sneak up on you, and you’ll have a much less stressful Christmas—the way it’s meant to be.

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