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7 Easy Ways To Save Money On Holiday Season Travel

7 Easy Ways To Save Money On Holiday Season Travel

You’ve picked out the gifts. You’ve decorated the house. You’ve selected a tree. Now, you have to figure out how to pay for those pricey visits to friends and family this holiday season. With gas prices sky-high and flights that aren’t much better, it’s difficult to find ways to travel on a budget no matter how much traveling broadens your horizons. However, by implementing the seven tips below, you can definitely save hundreds of dollars during the upcoming holiday months and even enjoy yourself in the process.

Stay With Family

It seems like a simple way to save money, but sometimes staying with family is more complicated than it seems. First, you don’t want to infringe on anyone’s privacy and secondly, there might be other relatives vying for the same space. To avoid the confusion and any awkward moments, be sure to talk to your family members way ahead of time to see how long they would be comfortable with you staying. Offer to make them a nice meal or take them out to dinner. Trust me, they will greatly appreciate the gesture and you will still save a significant amount of money since a meal out costs much less than 5 nights in a hotel room.

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Do Research On Airline Fees

If you are traveling by plane, be sure to do your research ahead of time. It seems that many airlines change their policies on how much free luggage you are allowed at the drop of a hat. These fees can sometimes be so high, you could have upgraded to first class for less! Avoiding these fees often means less luggage, which means you might have to ship gifts ahead of time. This tip will also help you to keep stress levels down in the airport since won’t be getting any unexpected financial “surprises.”

Bum A Ride

Taking a taxi to the airport or leaving your car parked there for a few days are both expensive ventures. Instead, ask a friend to drop you off and pick you up at the airport. You can always return the favor to them the next time they take their family to the beach or go on a business trip. It’s an easy way to save a few hundred dollars. Plus, you know your car is safely at home and won’t get bumped in the tight airport parking lot!

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Research Alternative Methods of Travel

Depending on where you live, it can be much less expensive and much more fun to travel by train. Your kids will love it, and you can enjoy the scenery as you go. Of course, this won’t work for everyone but it’s always worth it to research it and find out. If you’re a stickler for time management when you travel and making the most of the journey, this might actually work out the best for you. You’ll have built in quality time with your family and won’t waste precious hours waiting in long security lines at the airport.

Plan Your Meals

When most of us travel, we should expect the inevitable delays. Weather problems, technical difficulties on planes, and traffic jams are all common occurrences during the holiday months. So, keeping that in mind, it would be best to always pack a snack like popcorn or pretzels to keep with you at all times. This way, you won’t be tempted to run to the nearest fast food restaurant or convenience store to spend money needlessly, which keeps your wallet and your body healthy all at the same time.

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Be Flexible

Many of the best holiday travel deals come when you are flexible with your schedule. This may include taking red eye flights or having long layovers. This also might include staying in a two or three star hotel instead of a four or five star one, especially if you are just staying one night. Many people find that traveling on the actual holiday, like Christmas Day, gives them much cheaper tickets than flying the day before or after. So, definitely keep your schedule open, and you’ll reap the rewards. A good free tool to use to search prices is Google’s matrix airfare search (Note: You can’t buy tickets using this tool but it will find the prices and availability and give you the codes that booking agents need to buy the ticket for you)

Use Social Media

Many people think that the only way to get a good deal on hotels or travel is to plan ahead and use travel websites for the best rates. This works well most of the time, but remember that the holidays are often plagued with extra expenses. Be sure to tweet your hotel or Facebook them ahead of time to let them know you are excited about coming. You never know when they’ll comp you a free breakfast or upgrade your room for being involved and spreading the word about their company.

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I know that many other people also have great tips on saving big bucks on holiday travel, so please leave all of your best suggestions in the comment section below.

Featured photo credit:  Pretty young woman hitchhiking along a road via Shutterstock

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Catherine Alford

Catherine is the go to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions.

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Last Updated on April 3, 2019

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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6. Get Aggressive About It

Consider these points:

Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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Finally (and most importantly)…

8. Keep Trying

Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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