Five Holiday Tasks to Complete Now

Posted on 10/05/2010

Thanksgiving and Christmas may still be several pages out in your date book, but that doesn’t mean you should put off planning and preparing. If you want to save money on travel and gift buying, here are five holiday tasks to complete now.

Task One: Book Plane Tickets
Traveling by air? According to USA Today, travelers could end up paying as much as $170 more for the average priced ticket if they fly out the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and return on Sunday, as opposed to altering their itineraries by a couple of days. Airlines will also be tacking on holiday surcharges. Some carriers are tacking on an extra $30 for flying on peak travel days such as the Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving. Check out this Peak US Domestic Air Travel Surcharge Chart from for a complete breakdown of fees by day and airline.

Task Two: Make a Holiday Budget
On top of your normal bills, the holidays always add extra expenses. It’s best to budget for these purchases ahead of time. Use this free printable holiday budget worksheet from to help you get started. Lay out a spending plan for gifts, decorations and holiday food. Because let’s face it, no one wants to be paying off Christmas bills in May.

Task Three: Create a Gift List
To help you nail down your gift budget, work on a list of people you need to buy presents for. Include the obvious ones (children, parents, and siblings) and the not-so-obvious ones (kids’ teachers, neighbors, and co-workers). Once you’ve created a list, start brainstorming gift ideas so you can snag great deals when you encounter them.

Task Four: Gather Extra Cash
Now that you have a better idea of how much the holidays are going to cost, start gathering extra cash. List a few items on eBay or Craigslist. Work some overtime. Or cut down on other expenses. By making room in your budget now you’ll be less likely to rack up holiday debt.

Task Five: Start Planning Parties
Most people have a love/hate relationship with holiday parties. They love throwing them, but hate the stress they can create. Start organizing your Christmas get-togethers now by nailing down a date, creating a guest list, and planning food. The more you do now, the more you’ll be able to enjoy the holiday season when it arrives.

By Alison Storm

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