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5 Holiday Expenses to Include in Your Budget

The end of the year is almost here and December 25th is even closer. Are you prepared, or did you wait until the last minute like millions of other Americans? If you’re many of us, you probably put off saving for the holidays and now that the season is upon us, you may be scrambling for last-minute cash.

Or perhaps you weren’t procrastinating at all. Maybe you just found yourself stuck in an unfortunate string of financial emergencies and needed title loans or other short-term borrowing options to stay on track. Regardless of the circumstances, it’s time to start preparing for next year. Here are 5 holiday expenses you need to take into account.

Parties

What’s the holiday season without a party? Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s all come one after the other, and each of these fun and popular holidays practically demand a party. Start setting aside cash from each paycheck early this year so that you have the ready funds to get the party started when this busy season rolls around.

Food

Halloween is time to put out buckets of candy, Thanksgiving means a big turkey and Christmas calls for something a little above and beyond, perhaps a beef tenderloin? Food is a big deal around the holidays, so be sure budget accordingly for when the big grocery bills start to roll in.

Gifts

When it comes to the holidays, gifts might just be the biggest expense you need to budget for. Plan your Christmas shopping list ahead of time and make sure you’re saving is on track to cover everyone on your list. While you’re at it, why not start your Christmas shopping early this year?

It helps to spread it out and do your shopping a little bit at a time. Buy items that you find that are on sale and check off people from your Christmas shopping list one at a time as the months pass on by. By the time December rolls around, you’re already done and the financial impact of shopping has been spread over time.

Family

The holidays are all about family, which can mean hosting visitors over the Christmas break. Are you prepared to entertain houseguests this year? Anticipating the added expense of holiday visitors is part of being a good host. Along with all your other expenses, be sure to account for the added expenses of opening your home to friends and family during the holidays.

Travel

If you’re planning to travel for the holidays, it may be a good idea to start looking at airline tickets now. Tickets prices for holiday flights are typically cheapest at around eleven weeks out in mid-October, so by shopping early, you could potentially save thousands. If you have waited until the last minute, all hope is not lost. Although bargains may be harder to find, if your schedule has some flexibility, you can still find some surprising deals on flights.

After it’s all said and done, staying on top of these 5 expenses will not only give you a head-start on this year's holiday festivities but also allow you to kick back and enjoy the holiday season without worrying about the money. Don't let yourself procrastinate until the last minute. Start planning out your holiday expenses ahead of time and you'll be surprised to find how much you continue to save year after year. If you liked this article, you might also enjoy these 6 unique traditions from all around the world to promote a prosperous New Year!