Hopefully by now you have started your Christmas shopping. Whether you are shopping at a store or online at the numerous web stores there are hidden holiday costs that you are probably not thinking about. This is a point often overlook by consumers while they are trying to stay in the confines of their household budget. There are several things a person can do to lower the overall cost of holiday spending so next year you cannot second guess on where the money went.
Here are some tips that you can use to avoid hidden holiday costs right away. Let us start with the extra cost of using the utilities.
- The excessive use of household utilities goes up quickly when people are decorating their home for the holidays.
- Placing outdoor lights on the entire house or partially decorating around the front of the house.
- The beautiful lights that go on the Christmas tree.
- While you are entertaining for the season the extra people using the televisions or electronics, more dirty dishes so the dishwasher will be running more often, the extra dirty clothes and changing the guest room sheets means the washing and dryer will be used more. The utilities electric, water/sewer and gas bills will definitely show the hidden holiday costs in next month’s bill.
- Ways to cut back the use of extra electric, water/sewer and gas by making sure that the dishwasher and washer machine are filled completely before you run it.
- Start by replacing the old Christmas lights with LED lights which will save you money down the road. You can find the LED Christmas lights for outdoors and indoors at hardware stores. By replacing the traditional lights you will use one fiftieth of the electric, the lights bulbs are cooler to the touch so no one gets burned and last if you use a real evergreen as the Christmas tree then you will not have to worry about fires.
- Make sure the light bulbs throughout house are LED just in case someone leaves them on all the time your budget in January will thank you.
- Run the dishwasher and clothes washer not during peak hours will save the hidden holiday costs from being over used in January.
- Do not buy new decorations for the house every year. Let’s put it in another way; when you go to the discount or chain store you see the cute new serving cheese board set with matching plates and bowls displayed in the aisle end cap. You consciously grab one of them and tell yourself “Oh you can afford it,” enough of adding these items to the cart. When you go to the checkout counter and the cash register reads over $200.00 and you wandering how it adds up or where did all your money go when you go through the budget for Christmas.
- Spending money on special Christmas cards can get expense. Everyone enjoys getting a Christmas card. Unfortunately if you buy all of your immediate family includes; spouse and two children the average cost $3.95 each card totaling the amount of $11.95. If you pay for any other holiday cards for family and relatives the cost can total easily above $25.00 or more. Try to cut back this extra expenditure by making homemade cards on the computer or as a craft project try being creative. People like homemade cards more in the first place because it comes from the heart. Also by sending e-mail cards are cheaper to send especially to those relatives you only hear from is during the holidays.
- Mailing cards and packages can be hidden holiday costs; an example for every Christmas card that is mailed at $.44 for each stamp multiply it by the average sent to family is around 25 the total cost of stamps equal $11.00. Then add extra postage for the cards that include a gift card because they have to be stamped on the average of .66 per card and say you mail on an average six the cost will equal around $3.96. You need to ship some packages because you family leaves over 500 miles away. It is cheaper at this point to send the gift cards because boxes and the cost even at the United States priority boxes can add up quickly averaging around $75.00 or month.
- Gift cards can seem impersonal and saves you money. However, the Visa and MasterCard gift cards have an activation cost that will be added to the cost at the cash register. This is a point overlooked by people Christmas shoppers for a $25.00 gift card the activation fee is $4.75 which averages to be approximately $29.75 now multiply that by how many you need to give as gifts we will use four equal’s around $119.00 without the county or state taxes added. This is a hidden holiday costs that adds up quickly and when the Christmas season is over you find that you have over spend the budget.