Image courtesy of HelloTurkeyToe

It's that time of year where mostly everyone is in full blown shopping mode. Most people are focusing on finding the perfect gift for their loved ones and trying to get the best deal while doing it.

If you follow any personal finance blogs, you know that it is best to save money throughout the year so while you are buying those holiday gifts, you aren't wrecking your budget or your overall financial health.

Even though you've may have saved money to cover the costs of your holiday shopping, there are some other costs that you may not have thought to include in your budget.

Have you remembered to budget for:

Holiday Meals
. If you plan on having family and friends over for dinner, your food costs will likely increase during the holidays. Unless you are hosting a potluck style meal, you will probably be footing the bill for the food.

Utilities
. Your electricity bill will likely increase due to extra energy use from holiday lights or if you have guests staying over. Your gas and water bills will probably be higher than normal also.

Charity
. I try to give throughout the year to various charities but most of my charitable giving is done in November and December. If you also do most of your charititable donations during this time of year, make sure you adjust your budget to account for the extra expense. For 2009, consider adding up the amount you plan to donate and then divide that amount by 12. Set aside the extra amount in a ING Orange savings account (or any savings account for your choice).

Holiday Travel
. This is another item that can destroy your well planned budget. For 2009, you may want to estimate how much you think your holiday travel will cost and divide by 12. Set aside the extra amount throughout the year. If you plan to travel by automobile this holiday season, thankfully, gas prices have fallen from the $3.50-$4 a gallon we were paying this summer.

Postage. If you are shipping gifts or mailing Christmas cards, be sure to account for the extra money you will be spending on postage. Don't wait until the last minute because the faster a package needs to get to its destination, the more it will cost.

What other hidden holiday costs can you think of? Any tips you would like to add?
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6 comments

  1. Dawn's Financial Evolution // December 8, 2008 at 7:58 PM  

    I am really starting to hate this spenders season. I am on a strict budget and sticking to it. No going out and no gifts except two parties.

    That's it!

    Great tips btw :)

  2. Thess // December 8, 2008 at 11:53 PM  

    Good tips.

    I'm on a very little budget too. All of it goes to nephews and niece now.

  3. Cristina // December 9, 2008 at 2:26 AM  

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Deborah

    Term Life Insurance

  4. BakerDancer // December 9, 2008 at 8:44 PM  

    Don't forget the Christmas tree...

  5. Miss M // December 11, 2008 at 4:56 PM  

    Tree, ornaments and decorations come to mind. I'm using ornaments and decorations from past years, but some people like to add to their collection every year. Christmas cards, wrapping paper and bows are another cost. My dad is staying with us for a week, so add in higher food costs as well as additional gas money for driving to and from holiday gatherings.

  6. Jennifer // December 14, 2008 at 2:44 PM  

    Great tips. I hadn't thought about postage myself. Thanks!