Uncovering Hidden Holiday Expenses

Back to Financial Insights

The holiday season is officially upon us! This is a perfect time to uncover some hidden holiday costs, so that you can not only set your holiday budgeting more accurately, but also pre-plan some holiday expenses in order to have a more joyful season.  Let’s take a look at a few hidden holiday expenses and some budget friendly tips and reminders.


Holiday shopping often includes much more than just the gifts under the tree. Decorations, the annual family Christmas cards, photos and even shipping costs. Here are a few examples of holiday expenses that are often left out of our seasonal budgeting and spending plans.

When holiday shopping, factor in the cost of gift wrapping materials, and needed accessories such as batteries. While shopping ask stores if they offer free gift wrapping, or if they provide gift bags or boxes. This can easily save you money on your gifting budget.

If you are shipping any gift items, shop around for the most cost effective shipping carriers and materials. Most parcel carriers also tend to have higher shipping rates the longer you wait to ship. By getting started earlier, you not only get your packages there before the holiday, but at the best rate.

Another shipping option for holiday gifts is to have those gifts shipped directly to the recipient. Many online stores will not only give the option to ship directly to your loved ones but will also gift wrap those items for you as well.



Often during the holiday months, it is common to see spikes in travel fares due to peak season. If you are traveling for the holiday season, shop around for the best airline rates. Sometimes using third-party websites can offer great deals on flights. Just be sure to read up on any fine print and details on these types of offers.

Another holiday traveling tip is to be mindful of baggage rates. If you are flying over the holiday season, many airlines are very particular on their baggage fees. Before booking your flight, research your airlines baggage policy, while considering things such as size and weight. Over-packing or not factoring the size and weight of packed gifts can insure last minute and unexpected costs.


Holiday Meals

Whether you are hosting that big family dinner for the holidays or having an intimate meal with loved-ones, when making your budget for your trip to the grocery store, here are a few things to remember:

When it comes to preparing the most perfect Thanksgiving meal for our friends and family, we often forget about the annual office potluck and parties or school events for our children that can create an extra cost in our budgets. Before signing up for these types of events, keep your budget in mind. Ask yourself, what recipes are more budget friendly? Or consider picking up an already prepared dish from a local store or bakery.

Santa shouldn’t be the only one making a list and checking it twice! Take inventory of items you already have on hand so that you’re not buying unnecessary things. By making a list before taking your trip to the grocery store, it not only helps you from forgetting important items, but it also keeps you on budget.



The holiday season can be a busy and stressful time of the year and Call Federal is always here to ease that stress for you. If you would like assistance in putting together a budget or spending plan, our team of Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors are here to help. Send them an email at [email protected] and let them you would like to make an appointment.


Back to Financial Insights

Share this post

Related Content

July 11, 2017

What Does “Financial Success” Mean and How Do We Get There?

Many times over the years, people have asked me, “How can I be more financially successful?” Each of us …

Read More about What Does “Financial Success” Mean and How Do We Get There?

June 27, 2017

A Vision for Your Future

My niece called me on Christmas Eve. “We found one” she said with excitement. “We found a house that …

Read More about A Vision for Your Future

May 30, 2017

Graduation Presents and Wedding Gifts: 8 Money Saving Tips for June

As we get ready for summer vacations and the last day of school, June also signals the start …

Read More about Graduation Presents and Wedding Gifts: 8 Money Saving Tips for June