The holiday season be stressful. You’re traveling a lot, adjusting to the colder weather and spending more time with your family. It can also be a hard time on your wallet.
Travel costs notoriously rise when the holidays hit, but there are other ways to mitigate how much you’re spending. Read below to see our tips for having a relaxing Thanksgiving instead of being grateful for your one-bedroom apartment back home.
Shop Early and Often
There’s not much you can do about airlines having higher prices during the week of Thanksgiving. But you can do your part. Set up email alerts to let you know when flights are within your budget. Sites like Kayak and Hipmunk can let you know what various websites offer.
You can also sign up for credit cards from airlines when you book your ticket – many will have miles or cash bonuses that can help you save on your next flight.
Skip Black Friday
Instead of spending your holidays jostling with people in the aisles of Wal-Mart, take a step back this year. You can often find great deals if you shop throughout the year. After Christmas is also a great time if you’re looking for big sales.
You should shop when you can take the time to be rational and dispassionate – not when you’re vying for the best deal on a sub-par TV.
Have a Friendsgiving Event
At first, I thought my group of friends was the only one who celebrated Friendsgiving, but it turns out we’re pretty unoriginal. It’s a great tradition. We gather at the same couple’s house every year and everyone brings a traditional Thanksgiving dish.
If you aren’t able to go home, you can set up one of these with other people who’ll be in town. This way, you still have the camaraderie and friendship of the holiday without spending your entire grocery budget on one meal.
After Thanksgiving, many grocery stores will discount seasonal type products like pumpkin pie mix, turkeys and more. It can be a great time to stock up on these items and fill up your pantry. But you should also be aware of how many times you won’t be home for dinner or will have office parties. Often these can disrupt your normal grocery shopping.
If you have any potlucks to attend or work functions where food will be provided, make sure to buy as much food as you’ll need. You can also take advantage of this time to eat most of your meals from food you already have in your freezer or pantry. That way, you’ll be prepared to start the new year with an empty pantry.
Take a Beat
Having a full social schedule can wear even the most experienced extrovert. It’s ok to take a few nights to curl up on the catch and watch Christmas movies. It’s also ok to skip going out with your friends and ask them over for a low-key game night.
Sometimes the holiday season should be more about taking care of yourself than being a part of every event you’re invited to.