5 Hidden Costs That Can Destroy Your Holiday Budget

You might be ready to catch up for lost time with an exceptionally memorable Holiday season this year if you missed the majority of the holiday celebrations last year. However, it can also be simple to overspend in your excitement and accumulate pricey debt that lasts a long time after the tree is cut down.

With prices increasing as a result of supply chain problems and high demand, this year could be particularly challenging. The consulting firm Deloitte predicts that in 2023, holiday expenditure per home will be $1,753, so we need to think carefully about where we will spend our accumulated check stubs.

One of the numerous holiday-related costs that might deplete your budget is the price of gifts and quirky gifts. It’s simple to forget about additional expenses like shipping, transportation, and entertainment that may add up rapidly. One-third of Christmas spending is expected to go toward experiences, such as hosting parties at home and going out to socialize, according to Deloitte.

Here are five hidden costs that can destroy your holiday budget. The following tips might assist you in controlling and lowering these hidden costs, making it simpler to start the new year debt-free.

1. Overspending on Shipping Fees

Holiday shopping online is simple, and you might find some affordable discounts. However, don’t forget to account for transportation expenses while calculating the cost of the things, particularly if you’re enticed to pay more for faster shipment in light of post office delays this year. These expenses can easily mount up.

You might be able to discover the perfect internet deal, but you might get slapped with a shipping cost you weren’t prepared for that might consume more of your money than you can bear, Miller said.

Plan ahead to give yourself more shipping time without paying extra for a service that might not even arrive on time. Ramhold advised avoiding expedited shipping.

“Massive shipping delays are expected—many of us are already experiencing them—so it’s wise to avoid the added expense unless a shop is providing an assurance that an order will arrive on schedule (and a solution if it doesn’t).”

2. Expensive Holiday Travel

After participating in a Zoom celebration in 2020, you might be going to visit family this year. Don’t neglect some important techniques that can help you cut the expense of travel in your eagerness to finally meet up with distant relatives.

According to David Slotnick, senior aviation industry correspondent for The Points Guy, airfares are often the lowest priced two to six months in advance. Since that period has passed, he advised buying farther in advance because prices can rise as you get nearer the departure date.

Additionally, the time of your trip might have a significant impact, particularly during pricey holidays. Avoiding travel on Monday, Thursday, or Friday is typically the best course of action, especially on routes with a high volume of business travelers, according to Slotnick.

“Those are frequently the busiest days for business travel, while you might find that costs are greatest on popular leisure routes like flights to Orlando on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Perhaps traveling during off-peak hours will save you money.

To discover the best rate, he advises comparing different possibilities, particularly if there is some flexibility. The best course of action, he advised, is to enter your home airport, destination, and trip dates into Google Flights and fiddle with the dates to see if there are any cheaper combinations. Google Flights may be used to monitor pricing, create alerts, and view historical price trends for some routes.

Additionally, he mentioned that now is an excellent moment to use reward points. “Since the holidays are a busy travel period, costs are frequently greatest. You can reduce the prices by using rewards points you’ve accumulated or a rewards card that offers a little rebate, the expert advice.

Also, look over the list of advantages on any credit cards you currently own, as many of them have rental vehicle incentives that can truly save you a lot of money.

3. The Cost of Hosting a Party

Be ready to spend even more money if you’re throwing a Christmas party, cooking a holiday feast, or perhaps even having family members stay with you. When you’re concentrating on the price of presents, it’s simple to forget the expense of hosting visitors during the holidays.

In addition to the cost of the main dinner, remember the additional fee for food if friends or family will be staying at your place for an extended period of time.

If you have to visit several supermarkets because some things are out of stock, your grocery spending may increase this year. Begin early preparation while utilizing the same techniques you do when purchasing presents. Keep an eye out for grocery-related coupons and discounts if you are hosting, Miller advised.

You can start buying canned goods items when they go on sale if you establish a plan a week or two in advance. You can also escape the frantic last-minute grocery shop crowd by doing that.

4. Traveling with All of the Gifts

Airline baggage fees can indeed stack up, particularly if you’re carrying a lot of gift bags. It’s even worse if you get to the airport and find out you have to pay more money for your luggage.

“You can usually get such a discount when you pay for checked luggage when you book your ticket, or when you check in the day before your flight,” Slotnick said. “You can also usually get a free first checked bag if you have that airline’s co-branded credit card, or if you’re a frequent flier, elite status through the loyalty program.”

5. Having Missed Out on Better Deals

If you intend to be doing your holiday shopping at a specific time, whether it’s Black Friday or the weekend within a week of Christmas, you may miss out on big savings. Make a list of the presents you want to purchase this holiday season and start tracking prices now.

“Make a shopping list in advance. “Make a list of the products you want to buy, as well as where you want to buy them and the prices you expect,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews.com.

“This is especially helpful for Black Friday and Cyber Monday planning because it allows you to compare and contrast what retailers have to offer.” She suggests checking the retailers’ websites on a regular basis and taking advantage of good deals when you find them.

You can also use resources to help you keep track of prices. “Now that you’ve decided what you’re going to buy this holiday season, start tracking prices and deals to ensure you don’t miss out on better deals.”

Woroch advised. “Because retailers’ prices fluctuate on a regular basis, using tools like Amazon Assistant or Honey’s DropList to track sales can help you score your gifts at lower prices without having to do much deal hunting on your own.”

These tools notify you when an item on one wishlist offers a discount. Before you check out, look for a coupon-sharing site like CouponFollow.com, which organizes deals by store name so you can quickly find current deals.