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The 12 Hidden Costs of Christmas

Finance Columnist Julie Desmond alerts consumers to The 12 Hidden Costs of Christmas to avoid ringing in a New Year of debt.

PRLog - Dec. 4, 2010 - CLARKSVILLE, Ark. -- Clarksville, Ark. (Dec. 6, 2010) – Budget-minded shoppers may have counted the cost of the gifts from the 12 Days of Christmas, but have they considered the hidden costs of the holiday?  “These aren’t necessarily things to avoid; but rather things to be sure to plan into the December budget, so consumers don’t ring in the New Year up to their necks in Yuletide debt,” says Julie Desmond, “Spare Change” columnist for Single! Young Christian Woman. “The 12 Hidden Costs of Christmas can mount up to several hundred dollars of unbudgeted expense, which is why I offer this list of expenses in a fun format for consumers.”
“On the 12th Day of Christmas, I stopped to count the costs…
12 Cards a Greeting
Greeting cards are a staple of the season, however the price of a greeting card is almost all mark-up.  Even if you aren’t sending cards in mass, just picking up a couple of cards to hold gift cards or cash will set you back.  Consider forgoing cards, sending e-greetings, or better yet, get crafty and make your own cards.
11 Strings a Lighting
Every string of lights you tack up and every giant electronic snow globe you set up in the yard is going to add to the electricity bill.  Keep electronic décor minimal and your inner Clark Griswold in check.
10 Goodies Baking
Sweets abound during the Christmas season, and at some point, you may be called upon to bring the cupcakes.  Be sure to add extra money into your grocery budget for baked goods and all the trimmings for the holiday meal.
9 Songs for Singing
Tired of the same old Christmas music? Downloading new holiday tunes is just one of the hidden costs of holiday entertainment. With more days off and friends and family around, merry-makers spend more on movies, bowling and eating out.  Other entertainment costs may include holiday concerts, new board games and movie rentals to keep everyone entertained while indoors.  
8 Boxes Shipping
If you are buying gifts online or plan to ship dolls to your nieces in Wyoming, you’ll be shelling out a lot for shipping.  First of all, think “light” in gift choices, and then look for free shipping, and have the package delivered directly to the recipient. If you’re shipping something bought locally, get it off in time to use ground shipping services. Also consider the post office’s flat-rate priority boxes, which can be most cost effective for shipping small but heavy packages, or gifts being sent out of the country.
7 Socks for Stuffing
Stores crowd register lines with small, low-cost items that make good stocking stuffers. But at $2 a piece? If you’re stuffing more than one stocking, better to look for packages with multiple units and resist those grocery line impulse buys.
6 Santas Dancing
When is enough enough? Ask yourself, “Do I really need that dancing Santa?” If you think it through and decide to buy, wait until the after Christmas sale and get it at 75% off for next year.
5 Craft Supplies
Even making your own gifts and décor can get costly. If you practically live at the craft store during the holidays, be sure to plan your craft projects wisely.  Don’t start anything that you can’t finish (like I always do!). Consider going in on supplies with fellow crafters.  
4 Trips to the Mall
A couple extra trips to the mall here and driving to a few Christmas parties there can drain a couple of tanks of gas. Combine trips, planning your route logically to minimize time and gas expense. And make lists so you don’t forget anything.
3 New Shirts
You may be tempted to buy a new outfit and accessories for each holiday party, but try limiting it to one or two new pieces and then mix and match items you already have in your closet. And don’t forget to shop at second-hand stores; there’s always a good stock of “gay apparel.”
2 Special Gifts
Around the holidays people tend to feel more generous and nonprofits know this. From the Heifer gift catalog to the Salvation Army bell ringer, opportunities to give to charities abound.  Definitely give all that you can, but track your giving, so you know when you’ve hit your limit and if you plan to claim the gifts as tax deductions, get a recipient.
And the Time to Get it All Done
Between wrapping presents, standing in line, browsing for the perfect gift and the thousand other little things you have to do around the holidays, your time is sucked up pretty quickly.  If time is money, then perhaps the best thing you can do this holiday season is to relax, avoid the stress and really ponder the true meaning of the holidays.  After all, if the original birthday boy didn’t need fancy electric lights, a grand dinner and hotel accommodations, why do we?”

Single! Young Christian Woman is a publication of On My Own Now Ministries, www.onmyownnow.com.

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On My Own Now Ministries reaches young adults during their transition to independence with biblically-based multimedia, events and programs to encourage faith, wise life choices and Christ-likeness.

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Source:On My Own Now
Location:Clarksville - Arkansas - United States
Industry:Finance, Lifestyle, Family
Tags:consumer, Holidays, christmas, shopping, budget, Finance, budgeting, the 12 days of christmas
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