Are Holiday Travels a Financial Burden?

The holiday season is usually a joyous season. It means time spent with family and friends and even some time off from the job. Yet, the obligations and demands to travel can put stress on your budget. I know that no one likes to admit this, but it’s true. Most likely, you have already spend money on Christmas gifts, so your December budget has been stretched as it is. Adding expensive air travel or the gas expenditures only makes it worse.

My Holiday Expenses

This year, my expenses are out of this world. My wife and I are flying to visit my family and between the two tickets, we spend over a thousand dollars. That is just to get there! Luckily we will be staying with family for the days that we are there, but can you imagine if we had to pay for a hotel as well?

To top it off, we are also flying just after Christmas to attend a good friend’s wedding. He was the best man in my wedding, so I don’t mind traveling to be a part of it. Yet, the expenses keep racking up. Before I know it, my Holiday expenses are putting me in the poor house. While you would expect this to steal all of my Christmas cheer, it is actually quite the opposite. I have planned months in advance for this so that it won’t ruin my Holidays.

How I Avoided Turning into the Grinch

One way that I avoided the pressure of the Holiday expenses was to pay for my air travel months in advance. By purchasing my flights in advance in a month that had little other expenses, I was able to soften the blow to my budget in December. By paying for it this way, it also meant that I got a great deal on the tickets. Buying your tickets in advance is always a great idea.

Another way that I saved my budget in December was to avoid buying elaborate gifts. If you live away from your family (like my wife and I do), visiting your family is a gift in and of itself. I will wrap myself before I buy gifts for everyone (after paying to fly home) and everyone understands that. I may still buy a few gifts for my nephews and niece, but nothing major. My wife and I also avoid getting gifts for each other. This saves the competitive gift-buying that often occurs at the expense of going into debt. I don’t believe in this method of living it up and neither should you.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, it may be too late to break the bank this year, but you can always plan ahead for next year. If you over-committed yourself this month, make a pact to cut back in January to make up for the amount you overspent.

How do you avoid breaking the bank around the Holidays?

One Response to Are Holiday Travels a Financial Burden?

  1. Our first married Christmas together (2010) was a huge financial shock. We flew to spend the holiday with my in-laws ($750) and bought more-expensive-than-called-for gifts for both sides. Thankfully we had saved for all those expenses in advance (targeted savings accounts) but it was still eye-popping when we added it all up. We spend Christmas 2011 with my parents (no flying necessary) and really toned down the gifts and it was much less stressful all around. Next year we’ll likely fly again but between the targeted savings accounts and gift spending caps I think we’ll do much better than 2010.

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