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Tip #20: Change the date of Christmas

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This is Tip #20 of of the Save $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge. (See past tips.)

This is a guest post by Erica Douglass, who blogs at erica.biz. She recently sold her web-hosting company for over $1m.

I really hate traveling during the holidays. Packed airports, delayed or cancelled flights, bad weather, and miserable attitudes — if this isn’t Hell, I don’t know what is!

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This year, my parents asked me to come back to Indiana. Having been snowed in for five days the last time I flew back — eating canned food and being stuck for days on end with no escape, since eleven feet of snow was blocking our driveway! — I adamantly refused.

We finally worked out a compromise. My parents, my boyfriend and I would all fly out to southwest Florida, where my aunt and uncle live. Unfortunately, after we agreed to this, I discovered that my aunt and uncle do not live near a major airport. We were looking at thousands of dollars to get the four of us down there for the holidays.

I felt the money we would spend on plane tickets would be better spent elsewhere — say, the massage and therapy I’ll need after spending time with my family (kidding!) Desperate for a solution, I spent some time on travel websites. Finally, I figured out we’d cut our ticket price by half if we simply moved Christmas to December 18th instead of December 25th.

Total, for flights for the four of us, we saved nearly two thousand dollars by moving Christmas up one week!

Cheap flight: $408
 

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Expensive flight: $1,248!
 

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I realize there are a few caveats to this. For instance, some of you have family members that might feel the holidays are more sacred than saving money. In that case, I would explain the emotional component instead of the financial one — that, if you travel during the busiest travel time of the year, you’ll be exhausted and may end up stuck in an airport for the holiday. But by flying a week earlier, you avoid the stress — and save money as well!

This doesn’t only apply to the holidays. Do you have multiple family members with birthdays in the same month? Consider pulling all of these celebrations together. Do you fly back home multiple times a year? Consider paring this down to only once a year and making your stay longer.

How you save money with this tip is up to you…but the moral of the story is this: there’s real money in being flexible when it comes to holidays and other celebrations.

About the author Erica Douglass is a successful entrepreneur sharing secrets to building a million-dollar business at erica.biz. Check out one of her most popular articles: How To Start A Business With No Money.

Total savings: $300 to $1,000

Last thing to do
1. See other tips in the Save $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge
2. Leave a comment on this post describing how much you’re saving with this tip and any unusual techniques you use to make this tip work.

If you liked this tip, check out my Premium tips — one long, tactical tip per week. Save money or get a 100% refund.

scrooge

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33 Comments

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  1. Great article.

    Plane tickets are one of the many ways people don’t really think about saving on because they don’t know about it.

  2. This is a great idea. As a matter of fact, I just did this last week. Instead of booking a flight for Thanksgiving weekend, I made it for Nov 11-18 and saved several hundred dollars. I got some business done, a great write-off, and was able to see my daughter and her husband several times.

  3. Good one! Flights is definitely one area where people with flexibility can save a fortune …. versus HAVING to be away on a particular week. Or, as everyone who has ever worked as a bartender knows, changing the date of New Years Eve helps too. You save yourself the higher club admission and drinks prices.

  4. Don’t forget, if you move your Christmas celebration to January you can take advantage of after-Christmas clearance sales!

  5. Sounds like a great idea to me. That way instead of gorging on gifts and such you can instead spend the day in church or working at a charity or just staying home.

    Unfortunately, though this tip doesn’t help me as I almost never travel. Honestly, if I get to take a trip to Boston (140 miles each way) once every two years, I consider myself lucky.

  6. I do this every year. I just came back from an early Thanksgiving with my parents. It cost 3x more to fly on Thanksgiving weekend. My family celebrates the holidays whenever we’re together. The date doesn’t matter.

  7. Yeah. With seven of us, we don’t fly anywhere. We drive, which is expensive enough.

    This tip: $0
    Cumulative: $90.75

  8. I’m only a 4 hour drive from “home,” so I won’t be flying this year. I definitely second Maria’s idea – some of my friends and I do simple gift exchanges after the holidays, when things slow down and you can get cute gifts on clearance after Christmas.

    My family handles this situation by not celebrating Thanksgiving. Instead, we spent over 2 days together (usually all in the same house) at Christmas. It works out well for us – the young cousins get more time to play together, the adults can drink if they want without worrying about driving anywhere later, and its a short enough time that we don’t start driving each other crazy!

  9. Yep yep. I would add to this that if you can’t do before or after, flying ON holidays is actually quite pleasant. I’m flying out on Thanksgiving morning to spend the long weekend with my family. My brother is also flying Thanksgiving day, and we’re doing the big Thanksgiving dinner on Friday. Not only did I save around $200 by being more flexible with my travel dates, I’ve found that it’s actually far less crowded and stressful when you fly on major holidays rather than just before them.

    Of course, as you said, it does rely on having a family who doesn’t place too much value on doing things in a specific way. I’m lucky in that my parents are just happy when we can all get together, we don’t have to stress out about doing things in a specific way.

  10. I concur with flying ON the day of holidays. My boyfriend and I are flying to Mexico for a week over New Years. We’re flying on New Years eve, and the flights are dirt cheap and mostly empty. Most airlines are merely shifting around their fleets for return holiday passengers on that day.

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