Alleviate Hidden Holiday Costs with These Three Tips

by Susan Paige on December 6, 2018 · 0 comments

According to the National Retail Federation, American shoppers will spend an average of “$1,007.24 during the holiday season this year, up 4.1 percent from the $967.13 [consumers] said they would spend last year.” That’s not chump change. And if you add in the unexpected, yet often necessary, expenses that each of us encounters as we attend our parties and plan our travel and give our presents during the holiday season, the actual amount we spend can come as an unfortunate surprise, far surpassing our carefully considered budgets. Take a look at three ways you can alleviate some of the hidden holiday costs that frequently have us all wondering where our money went:

Utilize Public Transportation

Whether you’re going across town to attend an office Christmas party or traveling 2,000 miles to celebrate Hanukkah with your family, getting to a destination isn’t always cheap. Even a trip or two to the mall, when added to other expenses, can escalate the amount we spend during the holidays. Gas bills, airline tickets, baggage fees: they all add up. Instead of using your own car or taking an expensive flight and paying extra to haul all your gifts from and then back home, consider bus and rail options. You could also carpool with friends to social events and shopping centers to cut down on gas costs. Sharing a ride doesn’t just help your wallet, it helps the environment, too.

Recycle

And speaking of helping the environment, the holidays are a great time to be creative with your recycling efforts. Don’t buy expensive wrapping paper and decorations before exhausting your imagination. Use brown paper grocery bags, old artwork and posters or newspaper to wrap your gifts. Reuse ribbons and bows. Take your own bags with you when you shop. Replace single-use items, like fresh Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands, with non-disposable options that can be pulled out and used year after year. Host a holiday swap party to trade decorations with your friends and ask your parents or grandparents for any of their unused items. Not only will you save money, you’ll have mementos that actually represent your own traditions.

Learn to Bake

We all have a lot of people in our lives. We have people who bring our mail, deliver our packages, cut our hair, clean our houses, pick up our trash. Some of us have a doorman or business immigration lawyer or personal trainer. The holidays are an opportune time to remember all that they do for us. But if we want to thank each of them individually, the list can be long and pricey: just giving a $10 gift to each can quickly and significantly increase our holiday costs. Rather than spend a lot of money on individual items, bake a large batch of cookies or make a big tub of snack mix to divide and give to service providers, neighbors and holiday hosts. Taking the time to actually make something is often more meaningful than the gift itself, and it can save a lot of money, too!

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