Hidden holiday costs not cheap

Sunday, November 29, 2015

It's hard to believe, but the holiday season is finally here. For many of us, this may mean spending time with love ones, shopping for that special gift, or catching up on our favorite television shows.

The National Retail Foundation reports the average shopper will spend approximately $500 on holiday gifts. Research also indicates oftentimes consumers may be spending more than that in hidden costs associated with the season. This article will identify hidden costs and provide a smart tip to potentially alleviate that cost.

Hidden Cost 1: Energy

Outside of the house hanging the Christmas lights is known to provide a glamorous appearance of winter wonderland, however inside the house it may cause a not so glamorous spike in your utilities bill. In addition, to the lights hanging outside of the house, you may also see a spike in your utilities bill if you tend to run your washer/dryer to clean for your visiting guest.

To cut cost in the area of energy, a money tip according to National Endowment for Financial Education is to "make sure the dishwasher is full before running and consolidate laundry into larger loads. Switch to LED outdoor lights, which use 1/50th the electricity of conventional lights and last up to 30 years."

Hidden Cost 2: Gift Wrap

Purchasing new gift wrap can add up in more than ways than we think. Purchasing approximately eight rolls of gift wrap in one season at $3.99 a roll, equates to $31.92 a season, totaling more than $100 in just four years.

A money tip in this area is to wrap presents in repurposed papers such as newspaper, old maps or magazine pages. Save ribbons, bows and other gift-wrapping accessories to reuse next year.

Hidden Cost 2: Social Events

Aspects of holiday events tend to get expensive. Whether you are hosting the party or attending the party as guest, there may be hidden cost associated with a holiday event. Hidden costs in holiday gatherings come about in the form of potlucks, secret Santas, and other holiday gift exchange.

The money tip associated with social events includes "rather than buying individual wine bottles for host and hostess gifts, do your research at the wine shop and invest in a case. When assembling your holiday cheese plate, check your grocer's deli for "odds and ends" cheeses, which often are inexpensive and allow for greater variety."

Visit www.extension.purdue.edu/putnam or contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 653-8411 for more information regarding this week's column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee.

Upcoming events

Nov. 30 -- Emergency Animal Management for Law Enforcement, Fairgrounds, 1-4 p.m.

Dec. 1 -- Bi-State Crops Workshop, Covington Beef House (RSVP to Extension Office).

Dec. 2 -- Private applicator recertification program, Fairgrounds, 1-4 p.m.

Dec. 3 -- Sheep and goat webinar, Extension Office, 7-9 p.m.

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