Why You Should Start Planning Your Holiday this Weekend

You Can Take Advantage of Sales

Free shipping day isn’t much use after it’s passed. (You can even sign up to get an email reminder.) The same goes for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when retailers offer massive discounts.

The trick to any holiday promotion, though, is doing your research beforehand. Although they’re touted as money-saving, that isn’t the case if you get duped into impulse buys or overspending. See these big savings days coming, and do your research first.

  • Black Friday: ¬†Friday, November 23
  • Cyber Monday: Monday, November 26
  • Free Shipping Day: Monday, December 17

 

You’ll Get a Seat

If you’re planning on flying and haven’t yet bought your tickets, don’t wait another second. Not only is Thanksgiving the hardest (read: most expensive) time of year to buy airline tickets, things get pretty hectic around the December holidays as well.

You can save up to 50% by flying on an actual holiday, and by avoiding the ever-popular Sunday flights. (And we have even more tips for saving on plane tickets.)

You Won’t Blow Your Budget

We recommend setting up your budget according to the 50/20/30 rule, but you can tweak it each month according to expenses you foresee. In other words, with the holidays coming up, now is the ideal time to tweak your existing budget and save up a holiday spending fund.

Here’s how it works: You know you’ll be paying for plane tickets to your aunt’s house, gifts for seven members of the family, one new cocktail dress because last year’s is barely hanging in there (and you’re sick of red), a handful of tips and a few decorations for your house. Instead of getting all the bills on December 31, put the plane tickets on one month’s card, the gifts and dress on the next and the tips and decorations on the last. This way, you’ve not only adjusted your budget for your spending, but you’ve modified your spending to fit your budget.

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You’ll Have Time to Be Thoughtful

Have you ever realized it’s December 20th and you don’t have gifts for, well, anyone, so you dash into a store and surrender your credit card to buy the same thing in six different colors/sizes and have it gift-wrapped? (You can admit it. We’re all friends here.) We’ve even had to drop excess cash for “overnight” shipping, and that smarts.

If you start planning now, you’ll actually have time to ask some well-placed questions–or do some covert Pinterest-stalking–to see if perhaps an awesome DIY gift or treat might fit the bill. If so, you have the time to put it together.

Image credit: Bakerella

You Can Make Reservations

If you start now, it’s more likely you’ll be able to secure a spot where you need it, whether that’s a hotel room, a restaurant, a car rental or the fold-out couch in your parents’ den (otherwise known as “Dibs!”).

If you’re looking to reserve accommodations that can’t be secured through dibs, make sure to do two things: check the hotel website to see if they’re advertising any rates or promotions not posted on third-party sites, and call the hotel directly. Many hotels have daily specials, and it’s possible to save hundreds of dollars on your stay just by calling and asking. (We also have more hotel tips, directly from a concierge.)

You’ll Have Time to Save

Between the expenses we expect and the costs we didn’t see coming, the next few months are bound to be expensive. So what better time to start getting prepared?

Not just mentally (although it couldn’t hurt). Now is the time to start putting away a little money designated specifically for holiday spending on gifts, trips and treats.

Even if you don’t feel that you have money to spare, consider setting up a jar for change and small bills near your front door and emptying your pockets when you walk in, or snagging $20 from each paycheck and putting it in an envelope marked “gifts.” Even if you only end up saving $100, it’s money you’ll be glad to see in a few months.

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Editor’s Note:

There’s no greater peace of mind then taking care of your holiday obligations now.

-Captain SuperMoney