Holiday Travel, Shopping, and Your Retirement

Posted by Madison on November 19, 2008

I’m so proud of myself! We almost always fly down to visit our in-laws. However, this year we’ve decided to drive to save some money. (Especially since now we would have to buy an additional seat for our two-year-old.) Because we usually have a lengthy layover at O’Hare, driving will probably only take about 1-2 hours longer than flying.

We considered having a DVD player installed to help with the drive (which will be about 9 hours total), but figured we could just buy a portable one for a fraction of the price. We’re going to go to the library and rent some videos for the trip. Hopefully that should occupy our 1 and 2 year-old for oh… about 15 minutes!

Just by making a few financially minded decisions we saved: $625 for airfare (less gas), $500 for a cheaper DVD player, and $20 for borrowed videos. Total savings: $1145. Consider your Thanksgiving travel plans… are there some quick changes you can make to save some money?

Holiday Shopping

Christmas Shopping Calendar – Dates to Save You Money
Do you know what date you must order items by to guarantee Christmas delivery?

Holiday Photo Deals
Thinking of sending holiday pictures? Here’s a fantastic list to save you some money!

A Do-It-Yourself Christmas: 34 Great Gifts You Can Make Yourself
Want to make some of your gifts? Here are lots of ideas to get you started.

The Benefits of a Cash Christmas
Have you always wanted to save money all year and buy Christmas gifts with cash? Here is your inspiration from Lynnae who did it for the first time this year!


If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Simply Contests. Winnie has a category devoted entirely to freebies. I must confess that I’m having a blast signing up for these since it’s so easy!

Retirement and Investing

Is Your 401k Account Safe?
ERISA protects your plan from the trustee of the retirement plan; but you should also keep your money safe from yourself!

Even in this Economic Crisis and with Failing Companies Your Pension Should be Safe
The PBGC insures your pension benefits up to certain limits. Although, they can make future changes to freeze your plan.

Targeted Retirement Funds Offer a (Nearly) Hands-Free Approach to Retirement Investing
I’m a big fan of the target retirement funds from Vanguard. I use them for many of my family members.

Asset Allocation: What It Is and Why It Is Important
“What Efficient Frontier theory argues is that an investment portfolio can be optimized, as long as all asset classes are included and properly weighted.”

The End of the 401(k) Match?
Has your company stopped matching funds? If you work at General Motors or Frontier Airlines, that’s what happened.

More Personal Finance

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Comments to Holiday Travel, Shopping, and Your Retirement

  1. Congrats on your holiday savings! That’s a big number. Thanks too for the round up of inexpensive holiday gift ideas.

    I recently dug back into my 12 years of girl scouting, where I made tons of great homemade gifts, to write this article, “11 Easy and Cheap Homemade Gifts Sure To Make Mom Cry”. Thought you might enjoy it!


  2. M, did you also factor in the cost of wear and tear on your car in your cost savings calculations ?
    Miles from a long trip are easier on your car than short trip miles, but each 1000 miles is still a good %age of an oil change, tire life etc.
    For short duration (2-3 days) but long milage (500+ miles) trips, I have sometimes rented an auto to avoid putting extra milage on mine. This also allows you get a specific vehicle for the trip, such as an SUV for a ski trip, without the expense of owning that vehicle type all year.

    Frugal in SoCal

  3. Madison,

    Just make sure the library videos are returned on time, otherwise all that savings will nothing! 😉

    Chris Hunter

  4. @ Frugal in SoCal: You caught me! I was just accounting for gas. If I use the IRS mileage rate instead, my savings will be less… although still cheaper than flying.

    @ Chris Hunter: Good reminder! We only get a week, so I’ll make plans to renew them online to avoid any late fees.


  5. come on, you can’t count $500 savings on a DVD player.

    Three years ago you would never have considered a DVD player, you would have paid attention to the child and occupied them that way. Why should it be any different now.


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