Saving Money on Holiday Travel Costs

When the holiday season rolls around, many people look to visit their friends and family living in other parts of the country. However, the costs associated with flying can be tough to fit into many budgets.

That problem is even more magnified during the last few months of the year, when families are also trying to manage their holiday shopping.

With tight finances, a sudden medical expense or home repair bill could leave households looking for help with cash loans until they can get back on track. Here are a few ways to create some financial breathing room to avoid overstretching a budget.

Book Ahead
The first way to save on holiday travel – particularly during a busy time – is to book well in advance. As popular travel dates approach, prices tend to rise dramatically.

One executive with the travel website Hotwire recently told FoxBusiness that last year, airfare prices for Thanksgiving week were 20 percent higher than non-holidays. Prices also started to increase more than a month ahead of the holiday.

Saving Money on Holiday Travel CostsBe Flexible With Dates
It can also pay to be flexible with travel dates, since there is higher demand for weekend flights. One travel expert told the site that traveling from Sunday to Sunday resulted in airfares that were roughly 32 percent higher than average.

For Thanksgiving, the cheapest time to fly out is Thanksgiving Day, and then returning the following Tuesday. While it may take up some additional time off from work, it can save 18 percent on airfares.

Be Smart With Bags
Another way to save money is to do your best to avoid the hefty bag fees charged by many airlines. Data released by the Bureau of Transportation found that during the first half of 2022, airlines in the U.S. took in more than $1.7 billion in bag fees alone.

You can help reduce those fees in one of two ways:

• Stick with carry-ons – Carry-on bags are still free on nearly every airline. So if you’re only going away for a couple days and can cram your stuff into that one bag you can avoid paying to check another suitcase.
• Buddy up – If you’re traveling with others, try to use just one suitcase for every two people. You’ll still have more space than your carry-ons would have allowed, but you’ll be cutting your bag fees in half.

Package Services
You may also be able to relieve some pressure on your budget by looking to package services where you can.

For example, travel websites may offer heavy discounts if you purchase your airfare, hotel and rental car at the same time. An Expedia representative told FoxBusiness that buying all three services at the same time could give travelers discounts up to $500.

You also don’t need to limit yourself to those kinds of bundles. Many tourist spots sell museum or attraction tickets together, which can also save you money if you plan to hit multiple included locations.

Mistakes Job Seekers Make That Could Be Costly

After the recession, many Americans took low-paying jobs to simply make ends meet. Now that the economy is recovering, they may begin to look for better-paying jobs. A job that offers more money can allow these people to no longer have to dip into their emergency funds to cover expenses. However, with high competition in the labor force, they must avoid mistakes that could cost them a job.

Some common mistakes that job seekers make could lead to them not getting a job, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Not Following Up With Networking Contacts
Networking is one of the best ways to potentially land a job. But it becomes useless if you fail to follow up with the contacts that you meet. Many job seekers are guilty of not following up. For that reason, they may be costing themselves a job. People you meet networking can be very valuable. Even if they don’t get you a job, they could potentially prove helpful in the future. To give yourself the best shot at obtaining a job, you should stay in contact with these people.

Not Including Targeted Keywords In Your Resume
Before a potential employer meets you, they will learn about your skills through your resume. In order to stand out, you’ll want to include targeted keywords on this document. The company will likely be getting tons of resumes. Targeted keywords will help you get noticed. The best way to do this is to analyze the job description and find words that best describe your skills in relations. Failing to do this simple task could result in you being passed over for a position.

Making Your Resume Completely About Your Past
When making a resume you want to make sure it outlines what you want to do next. While your past is important, an employer will want to know how you can help their company improve in the future. It is necessary to make connections between your accomplishments and what you want to do in the future. If your resume is just a document of your history, you may not obtain the job you are seeking.

Failing To Have Someone Review Your Resume
Having someone else review your resume can be the step needed to help perfect the document, according to Forbes. Failing to do so could result in mistakes on your resume that you didn’t notice. A second party should look over your resume to check for spelling errors, irrelevant information or skills you haven’t highlighted.

I spent nine years working for a state university,

and state hiring rules can be pretty ornate. A lot of times the jobs are union jobs, too, which adds another layer of bureaucracy.

It’s possible that the position was accepted and they didn’t have a good process to let them use the same search once a candidate accepted.

Another possibility is that there are often rules for the composition of the applicant pool. For example you may have to have a certain percentage minority, women, veteran candidates. This sort of thing is sometimes controlled by a small board or even a single administrator who can gunk up the works if they don’t like the outcome.

In our state, I’m know of one search where all the best qualified minority candidates withdrew (snatched up by places that could move faster, no doubt) and the search had to be started over. After the second search the hiring manager was given the choice of hiring a clearly unqualified minority candidate, or doing a *third* search for the same position. Each search took 2-3 months. He chose to hire the unqualified candidate, and did his best to train him, but the guy had to be fired later at great hassle and expense. Everybody lost.  I lucked out on my hire because my very clear first choice was Haitian-American. His paperwork *flew* through the system and I got all sorts of praise for hiring him. He was my first choice because he had the skills and experience and clearly wanted to work in a university environment. Plus he was an alumni and we knew him and *liked* him. I didn’t care what color he was, I just cared that he knew what colors the right cables were 🙂
Sigh, it was such a screwy system.

I’ll say though, that if you can stomach it, you might as well use the system in your favor. If you’re a minority or a veteran or have any sort of disability, and you’re applying for a job with a state or federal agency or a large non-profit like a university – make sure you put that information into your cover letter. It’s going to affect the hiring decision so you might as well put it up front. (and yeah, I know “minority” is not a great word to use, but it’s the one they will use)

In August, I applied for a job at the University.

They filled the position with someone else. Last Thursday, the director sent me an e-mail saying the position was open again, I was one of the top candidates, and he wanted to see if I was still interested before they posted it again. I told him I was still interested, and went out there to talk to him Friday. They said they’d let me know. I thought it went well. So I just got the following e-mail from him 30 minutes.

From having worked at the University before, I know that sometimes jobs are posted with “Candidate in mind”. But I’d think that if that
was the case he would have told me that. But as everyone says, it doesn’t hurt(or cost) to apply again.

That’s great news!

I use quicken everyday. I use the import feature and automatically import my transactions in and then I only have to categorize the ones it doesn’t recognize.
Since you already had a spreadsheet with the categories you use, you should be smooth sailing going forward with new line items.

This morning I’ve been re-acquainting myself

with this beast that I have occasionally danced with in the past. And in the past, I’ve usually come away from those dance sessions tired, irritated and convinced there must be an easier way. But I’m happy to report that either I’ve gotten smarter, or Quicken has gotten more intuitive, in the last year or two (I’m betting it’s Quicken that has gotten better, not me getting smarter). I was able to get the last month’s worth of both personal and business expenses, and basic debt information, completely squared away in less than 2 hrs (starting from a brand new file that needed to be set up and everything). My next task will be to go as far back this year as I can without doing manual entry, so that we can get a running total. I also need to bring all the utility bills into the system and get those squared away. I’ve been doing those for the last number of years either at the bill vendor’s website, and/or from our bank’s bill-pay page. So those records are kind of spotty and hard to wade through. Having it all in one place will be nice.

I guess let’s hear it for cold, rainy days when I have a whole lot of time available to sit at my desk and churn through this sort of thing. Keep those cups of tea coming……..

As some of you know,

I’ve been putting a fair amount of time and energy into getting organized around the old homestead. Organizing my projects, organizing my time. And for most of this year, my DH and I have been trying to stay organized with money too, with a lot more success (thanks to DR and y’all), than in previous years. We have a well defined and predictable weekly cash flow budget, we’ve set budget limits for expenditures in this-and-that categories, we have pared down or eliminated a variety of monthly expenses, we have a good feel for monthly cash/income balances, our bills are current and paid, our overall debt is doing DOWN, and happily not too many surprises now that we know Murphy is pretty much a regular visitor (the only surprise is what he’s going to break next).

The one weakness we’ve had in this whole thing, was that between the farm, the household, the debts and various other life events, we have so many transactions to log each month into our homemade budget spreadsheets, we were getting behind. We felt like we had a very good general idea of where the money was going, and we knew how to get at the specifics. But those specifics took a painfully long time to document.

So, we’ve reluctantly both come to the conclusion that we are going to abandon our very-detailed-but-too-demanding-to-maintain homemade spreadsheets, and instead do everything in Quicken.

We are in the middle of finishing our lower level

Even though we are hiring most of it out, it still takes a lot of work! Either moving items from one room to another or going through boxes/kids clothes is all I’ve been doing for months! But like someone else said, there was a time in our lives that we would have just put this whole project on credit and not even given it a second thought. Instead, we are doing this project with CA$H!! Even got a discount from the electrical guy by paying cash. What a nice feeling to be handed an invoice and saying–hold on, let me run upstairs and get that for you! When we are all done, we will have doubled our square footage and added 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, a kitchen/entertaining area and a couple of closets!! It’s a daylight basement with a walk out so we aren’t sticking kids in a dungeon!! With the girls (12 &6) sharing a room, I can say that nobody is more excited than the 12 year old! It’s a lot to have workers shuffling in & out but also gratifing to know we have planned and are financially prepared!
Plus, the kids are keeping us very busy with travel soccer, fall ball, and theatre and chasing around the 21 month old also keeps me busy too!

Even more important is that clean is creeping into the rest of the house

AND the guys are helping me keep it that way. Talk about a huge change in attitude! We are lazy cleaners generally. My house has never been truly dirty—you wouldn’t call the hoarders show on me for certain, but it gets to where I am facing C.H.A.O.S (can’t have anyone over syndrome) if I don’t do a major deep clean ever so often. No C.H.A.O.S. any more and that is huge. It is also very money saving.
How does a clean house save money?

1.    It costs more to heat and cool clutter. Less things to keep comfy, the less needed to do them.
2.    If I know where something is (ie where it belongs) then I’m not tempted to purchase a replacement rather than hunt for it.
3.    Things left out that shouldn’t be are more prone to meet with a cat related accident of any type if they are secured in their proper storage place. No breakage or other mess on it, means no need to clean up, repair or replace.
4.    Being tidy helps you spot potential problems and do a $5 repair rather than a $50 or $500 repair.
5.    If you are trying to keep the fridge empty of leftovers you tend to use them rather than lose them. Example: yesterday’s pot roast is today’s roast beef hash and tomorrow’s roast beef sandwiches for work.

The list goes on, but you get the idea.
Along with deep cleaning I’ve been working on a possible budget getaway for dh and I. So I’ve been spending some of my “time budget” cleaning up the camper, packing it and checking out possible free sites to see.
I ordered and received VERY quickly a vacuum part for my good sweeper from Cathy. Thanks again Cathy. Dh is suppose to install it tonight. Hopefully we calculated right as to what the problem was and I’ll have my expensive vacuum back for very little money.
Oh and in case you didn’t notice below. I did manage to get another blog update made.

Oh I’m around, just been kind of busy.

I finished off the last of the merchandising shops I had scheduled and that kept me busy for a few days.You cannot imagine what a difference a change in mental state can make on those jobs.
The ones that were giving me so much physical pain had got to where they were taking me two hours, sometimes more, to do each because I dreaded doing them so much.I had 7 of those to do on Monday and Tuesday.Monday it took me nearly 8 hours (including driving time) to do the first three, and then another 2.5 hours to file them (inventories with lots of number entries).All day long I kept dreading the next day that I had four scheduled.I even talked myself in to possibly consider being late completing the one closest to home so I could just do three that day.I never do my jobs late, but I was seriously considering it.
Yesterday I got up and reminded myself that IF I could finish these last four on that day I would never have to do them again.Long story short, I finished the four jobs in five hours!!! And the report entry went a lot faster too.I think it was the idea I’d be free of them just as soon as the day was over.
Oh and for all those hours, I only made about $150, take out my fuel and the aspirin I had to pop to get through it… Better to be home working on the business and other things.
Attitude changing here in the house has been pretty big too.We only ate out once last week, the day we went to vote—early voting.The rest of the week we ate nice meals complete with breads and desserts each night.I figure right there I saved a ton of money because the guys ate the leftovers for work lunches.
A big change is the kitchen.You see when I’m tired, like so many other people, I tend to put off doing dinner dishes, let the leftovers build up in the fridge and well sweeping the floor is optional.I am proud to say that since I first started tinkering with the idea of not doing so many shops I have kept the kitchen shining clean.I know to some of you that is no big accomplishment, but for my kitchen to be that clean for going on three months straight now, without a single dirty dish being left on the counter EVER is pretty spectacular.

I know

I tossed and turned all night. I saw so many people in a total fog today in complete shock.
The markets all feel sharply today, Moodys is talking about another downgrade on our credit rating, people can’t believe how stupid we were to vote him in again all over the world. Iran is just biding their time.
I fear things will only get worse.

I’ll widen the scope of this

conversation, and put forth a challenge to the list:

This week’s challenge:
1) go look up and remind ourselves what the so-called “fiscal cliff” is all about, and what the likely scenarios are

2) work through how each of those scenarios would impact our particular households
3) come up with some plans, either a rough sketch or more details plans like below, for how we will respond with our finances, if/when these various scenarios play out.
4) take up to $ 3.000 dollar loans
Any takers on this challenge?
I’ll go first and say I’ll do the three steps above, and share with the list.
Won’t be today, per se, but I’ll try to have something within a week or so.

I get it, wanted to be clear I wasn’t trying to stir things up either – too tired for that.

Proactive is the word of the day and I wish that our past lawmakers could be been proactive so we aren’t where we are now.
We are blessed with a good income, but I know that can change tomorrow and the job is feeling less and less stable anyway.So I am thinking the house cleaners have to go as the very first step – but I feel for them as they are trying to make ends meet too and need work.

Also our investments, retirement and kids college accounts have suffered for many years and I don’t have confidence they will be too prosperous…and we need to be able to cover scenarios from losing a job and trying to send the first kid to college in a few years to replacing cars to getting our house paid off to preparing for future retirement…

Oh, and we have been forced to change our healthcare coverage, so will have more out of pocket expenses there next year as well.

I was just making sure folks new

that I wasn’t trying to stir the pot myself. Rabble-rouser that I am. 🙂 And yes, I love your last line about being proactive rather than reactive. That right there could possibly be the most important sentence ever said, anywhere, at any time. Go forth and be proactive, by all means! I was merely hoping that our fine elected officials do the same. Far too much drama and hand waving reaction going on the last few years.

You know, I didn’t want to get into any comments

about the election and who’s going or returning to office. But my one hope for our nation right now is that we get our financial house in order nationally, like those of us on the list are doing for our own households. No matter who folks voted for or what they think of the folks who have been voted into office, here’s hoping that the next few years will see more financially responsible behavior on the local, state and federal government levels.

Maybe some of the folks who are going, or returning to office, will finally do the really hard, dirty work that needs to be done in that regard. Heck, I’ll even let ’em use my work gloves if that would help it get done. But this “fiscal cliff” thing has been bugging me ever since that SuperCommittee failed to come to any really meaningful conclusions, other than “kick the can further down the street.” Fingers crossed on that one………

Got most of my records moved

over to Quicken, and got the monthly budgeting stuff set up so that it auto-fills as the month goes by. Trying to remember now to go in every few days and do the quickie auto-update, then watch all the categories fill in. This is the part that I like – one click does most of the work.
Going through something of a “rest stop and scenic lookout” on this trip, the last few weeks. We’ve been doing DR now for just over a year. The other day I caught myself thinking about how differently we’re living now rather than a year ago. I was out yesterday digging up old field fence so that I could re-use it somewhere else on the farm instead of buying it new. Hot, dirty, nasty work which drives my gloves into early retirement and has me reaching for the bandaid box all too often. But because I recycled that fence, I had money still in the farm fund for the week to go buy some new feeders as a result, so that evening feeding time is easier. I’ll take that tradeoff. Last year I would have just put all of it on a credit card, and never looked back. And dispaired that I would never ever be out of debt in my lifetime. Yea, I’ll take my living conditions now over that uncertainty a year ago. I might be reusing stuff that others would throw away, but each time I do it, it’s an investment in ME and my financial health.

Also starting to really “get it” that there will come a day when we’re out of debt. Wow. I don’t doubt the date, but I’m still wrapping my brain around what that will be like. That’ll be the first time in ……. let me do the math here ………25+ years? Sharon, you’ll be able to hear me from Atlanta, screaming my head off when that day finally arrives. It’ll come on the wind like some distant cattle call out of the days of the Wild West: “oEE!!!!!” Not this year, maybe the tail end of next year.

But it’ll happen.

Looking forward to the holidays and doing the same thing this year for gifts that we’ve done in the past – a homemade calendar of images from our farm and other western WA farms, for family so that they get some idea of what our day to day lives are like. That will work out to cost us something like $15/household, but you can’t buy ’em in stores. That gift giving feels to me like getting back to what the holiday is for – sharing with loved ones. And starting to look forward to next year and how we can do an even better job with finances.

Ahhh, but there is only one of you and there were two of us adding to the debt. LOL! So I had help, not to mention that 99% of that was taking care of dmil. Rose who is proud to say as of today’s payment on that bill it is now UNDER $17,000 and other than the two mortgages that is her absolute highest bill (which it is double any of the others) in OK . My worst was a card with a $33,000 limit that was maxed out. In fact, I think running into that credit limit was the catalyst that made me realize I needed to do things differently.

One of the things that shocked us

in the FPU class a year ago, was that we found out we were only at the middle of the pack for the amount of debt owed by the members of the class. We already felt at the time that our overall debt load then was suffocating – approx $35K. But that was chump change compared to some of the other members of the class. I was particularly mortified to learn that farming families in general have been snowed into the belief that it’s OK to finance massive amounts (hundreds of thousands) for the sake of herd improvements, building improvements, equipment improvements, etc, and that debt burden will just magically go away as we succeed at this fabulously profitable farming industry (I trust you can all hear my bitter laughter at that one). Yes, money can be made farming, but not when you start off hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. And folks wonder why young people don’t want to get into the profession.

Our own comfort level about debt has definitely dropped over time, which is as it should be. We’re down to about $25K at the moment, with my sole credit card still representing the bulk of that amount at $15K, +/-. We have a smaller debt at $5K and our tax bill also around $5K. We’re paying off the tail end of our first snowball debt within the next two months, and then that amount will go towards those three bills. It’s possible we’ll pay them off within 2013, but it’ll be a real push to do so. One of my planning tasks these last few weeks, and extending into the winter months, is to calculate what changes we’d need to make on the farm to bring in a higher amount so we can pay that off faster, without incurring more debt to do so. Farmers buying with cash is the rarity, but I’m glad to finally be in that club. It’s the right place to be. I just feel for the folks who still think their answers will come from chasing a good credit score, and keeping a ‘healthy’ amount of debt. Alas, DR has yet to reach them…..

Location Detroit
Organization Bank
Position – 1 Manager Product Development – Credit Cards
Position – 2 Manager Product Development – Online Payday Loans for Bad Credit
Job Description – 1 Develop and updating product programs for credit cards.

Ensuring that the Credit Cards Portfolio and Process are well controlled.

Conduct Risk training module on credit cards.

Monitor the operating environment for factors impacting the cards portfolio.

Job Description – 2 Develop and updating product programs for credit cards.

Monitor the operating environment for factors impacting the running finance and personal loan installment portfolio.

Ensure that the running finance processes are well controlled.

Making adjustment and policies to improve portfolio of risk management.

Education MBA
Salary Excellent compensation package will be offered according to market standards.


Interested candidate send your resume PM!

Spending money like drunken sailors

I think we have finally started to spend money like we “should” based on our income. We have been buying upgrades to flights, staying in nice hotels and here is the best one, buying art work.
I think we have now spent about $60K this year. Definitely on pace to spend more than we normally do. The last 3-4 years we have spent about $80K-$85K a year. We have taken a few more trips this year than normal and we are going to Europe in September which most of has been paid for already. I will have to skip a savings transfer in the middle of August to pay for most of this stuff. My wife has about 4-5 more years of working and then we will be on my salary for a few years until I retire. Hopefully we will be on a real budget once we retire so we can get through the first few years until we can get money from our Pensions and SS and IRAs.

Going well thanks to Edward, we had some major expenses this year

nse year this year.
An accident in January left us needing to replace dh’s car.
A trip to Tennessee to see our son walk with his graduating class.
$500 graduation gift to beef up our son’s baby efund
Full replacement of the roof on the house
Second course of shingles on the garage
Refinanced the house to a 15 year at 3.09%
$1200 worth of car repairs so my car would pass inspection
Last week I had to finally give in and purchase new glasses.
We aside the money for the hotel and ferry for our mini vacation to Nantucket at the end of September.
This week we replaced my dinosaur of a phone with a new tracfone smartphone and I bought myself a Samsung Tab 4
The E-Fund did get tapped for about $750 to complete the roof and the full 1200 for my car repair. We have managed to rebuild the E-fund back to full. The sinking funds is still low at $700.