The day after Halloween, it hits you. Once the Christmas carols start playing in the store, there’s no denying it: the holidays are upon us. If you have previously had trouble with holiday debt, you’re (hopefully) formulating a plan to avoid making the same mistakes this year.
Making a budget is an excellent idea, but before you get too far into your plans for the season, be sure to factor in the hidden costs of the holidays.
More Trips to the Grocery Store
Entertaining can be expensive, especially if it’s your turn to host a big holiday meal. However, there’s more to consider than just the extra costs of feeding your guests for one big meal.
Generally there’s a lot of time off during the holiday season, for all members of the household. That can mean a lot of snacking that doesn’t happen when everybody is out of the house. Be sure to build a little extra into your monthly grocery budget in December.
Ribbons and Bows
Those pretty packages don’t wrap themselves, and they certainly don’t do it for free! Even if you had the forethought to stock up during clearance sales after the holidays last year, the costs of gift bags, wrapping paper, and tape could really start to add up. Add a couple of dollars to each gift in your budget to cover the costs of lovingly wrapping each present. Or stuffing it in a bag with some tissue paper and calling it a day. Whatever works best for you…
Shipping and Postage
If you have a lengthy Christmas card list, remember that with postage you’re looking at about a dollar to send each card. It might be time to consider making the switch to E-cards, or culling the list a bit.
If you are sending gifts to relatives far away, keep an eye on the Canada Post guidelines for shipping dates so you don’t have to add extra rush fees to ensure your packages arrive before the holidays.
If you’re shopping online, many retailers offer free shipping – BUT, it usually uses the lowest service class that can take a couple of weeks to arrive. Start shopping now, with a detailed list and budget in hand, and you can avoid extra fees for rush shipping.
A little careful planning can help you enjoy the season while sticking to a sensible budget. If you need more help managing credit and debt, beyond your holiday shopping, we’re only a phone call away!