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Holiday Survival Guide: Seasonal Expenses

The holiday season is here! While we celebrate everything merry and bright, we tend to get overly joyful with our budget this time of year. The National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will spend an average of $1,000 on gifts just for themselves. The wallet is already crying at the thought, but don’t worry, it’s possible to survive the holidays with a little extra planning.

Regardless of your budget, your best bet is to make a list of all your expenses this season – and check it twice! Our team compiled a few common expenses to include on your list that will help manage your money this month, and into the new year.


The bulk of December budgets tend to be on gifts for family, friends, co-workers, and ourselves. Let’s face it, we’re all in the giving spirit and can go overboard.

The reality is, buying a gift for everyone will quickly eat up your budget. To avoid going into seasonal debt, you’ll want to make a plan.

Write down everyone you need to buy a gift for and then get personal. List your gift ideas next to each name. This will keep you from walking into a store, searching blindly for a gift and spending more than you really wanted. There’s also nothing wrong with handmade or baked goods for the holidays. If anything, the personal touch will show you truly care.


If you’re one of the 112 million people projected to travel this season, you’ll need room in your budget for travel expenses.

  • 102 million are expected to travel by car
  • 6.7 million people will travel by plane
  • 3.7 million people will travel via trains, buses, or cruise ships

If you’re traveling by plane, you’ll want to consider that the average cost for a round-trip plane ticket in 2018 was $560. Explore your options and comparison shop early to help make the right decision for your budget. Remember, the earlier you book your trip, the more deals you’ll find and the more you’ll save whether traveling by bus, train, plane or boat.

Traveling by car is the way to go for many families but, cross-country trips will mean preparing your vehicle before you hit the road. Remember to factor oil changes, new tires, gas, lodging and most importantly, food and snacks into your budget.

To significantly cut down on travel costs, take up the offer to stay with family or friends and plan ahead by making an itinerary of all the activities you plan to do while away.


Streets covered in a blanket of white is what holiday dreams are made of but, what about all the preparation that comes with snow? Not only do you need tools for daily upkeep of sidewalks and driveways, but your vehicle and home also need to be winterized.

Here’s a few items you’ll want to have handy.

  • Power generator in case of a power outage
  • Weatherstops for windows and doors
  • Insulation for walls and attics
  • Coverings for water lines
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Flashlights
  • Booster or jumper cables
  • Tire chains
  • Sand for tire traction

Car Problems

With the holiday season comes colder temperatures. We’ve all experienced a car warming up for what feels like an eternity. Did you know that cold weather affects the performance of your vehicle? Here are a few things to watch for this season.

  • Battery – your vehicle’s battery works harder to get your car running due to a reduction in starting capacity in below-freezing weather.
  • Fluids – cold temperatures make it harder for your car to get the fluids it needs to run properly.
  • Tire pressure – as temperatures drop, so will the pressure of your tires. It’s crucial to check your pressure during the winter months.

The cost of car problems including new batteries or tires can significantly impact your budget this season. Schedule a maintenance check as early as possible to ensure there are no surprises down the road.

Installment loans can put a little extra money in your pockets to stretch your budget and help you survive the holidays. We offer fixed monthly payments and repayment terms – making sure you don’t get caught in the payday loan trap. Visit any of our Sun Loan locations and our team will get you started.