Posted on 11/30/2011 10:13 EST
Planes, Trains and Automobiles: 10 Ways to Travel Cheap this Holiday Season
With the holidays upon us, finding holiday travel deals that won't put you in the poorhouse is both a necessity and a challenge. Considering that HomeAway is reporting 44 percent of travelers will fly and 54 percent will drive to their holiday destination, most holiday travelers are hoping for cheap airline tickets and cheap gas prices.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the AAA predicted that 42.5 million Americans would travel -- four percent more than last year, which could be an indication of how the rest of the holiday travel season will shape up. If you're one of those millions planning holiday travel either by plane or car, here are some cheap travel tips for you:
1. Look for holiday deals on cheap airline tickets from sites such as Orbitz.com and Bing Travel, which both offer deals daily. Also check for cheap Greyhound bus or Amtrak tickets on their respective sites, where deals and discounts appear regularly.
2. Compare prices on sites such as AirfareComparison.org and FareCompare.com to ensure you're getting the cheapest airfare.
3. Buy cheap airline tickets when you find them -- don't wait for better prices because they're unlikely to drop. The more flights fill up, the higher the prices will go.
4. Get a ride from a friend to and from the airport, Greyhound bus station, or Amtrak station to avoid paying parking or cab fees.
5. Get the cheapest airfare by traveling at off times. Kiplinger.com suggests Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to avoid the most popular travel times and highest costs. Better yet, celebrate the holiday a week or two after the fact to avoid higher holiday travel costs.
6. Cash in on reward programs for frequent fliers during your holiday travel to get discounted flights as well as discounts on hotels, gas cards, rental cars, and more.
7. Join the 45 percent of air travelers that HomeAway says is shipping their gifts this season instead of packing them to save on checked baggage fees.
8. Get cheap rental car fees by using any memberships you may have, such as Costco or AAA.
9. Pack water, snacks, and entertainment to avoid splurging on these necessities while on the road.
10. Pay cheaper gas prices by using smartphone travel apps such as GasBuddy.com to help you identify the cheapest places to fill up along the way.
Remember, the holidays are all about spending time with your loved ones. If you have to sacrifice buying gifts in order to afford holiday travel, don't sweat it -- your presence and the effort you made to be together will be the best gift of all.
Posted on 11/29/2011 12:38 EST
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, officially kicking off the Christmas shopping season. According to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, two-thirds of Americans will make a holiday budget this year and almost half believe they will stick to it. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
Create a Budget.
If you're strapped for cash this year, Frugal Families
recommends creating a holiday budget based on what you can afford to spend, not on what you think others expect you to spend. What do you need to include in your budget? According to the National Retail Federation
, the average person buys gifts not only for family and friends but also for co-workers
, babysitters, and others, plus holiday decorations, flowers, food and candy, and holiday cards and postage. Having a budget at the outset will help keep you from overspending on such things this holiday season.
Use Cash Only.
Christmas shopping causes too many people to fall into the trap of putting everything on a credit card and realizing only in January, when the bills come in, that they drastically overspent. Let's face it: It's much easier to exceed your budget if you don't have to worry about the consequences in the moment. To keep within a holiday budget, Frugal Families advocates buying only what you can pay for in cash. If you must use a credit card, make sure you can pay it off all at once without racking up interest by making payments well into the new year.
Shop Sales and Use Coupons.
While coupons and sales can save you money all year long, retailers practically beg for your business during the Christmas shopping season. A sale or a coupon will appear almost everywhere you go. Compare those sale prices and coupons to make sure you get the lowest possible price. Keep in mind, though, that just because it's on sale doesn't mean you absolutely have to have it. Yep, we're talking about impulse buying here. Ask yourself if you really need it for the holiday season, and if not, don't buy it.
We recently compared the cost of in-store
shopping at Walmart and online shopping at Amazon to determine which was cheaper. The question of Amazon or Walmart
is a tricky one to answer, but Amazon came out cheaper when we priced out a handful of the exact same gift items, including a LeapPad Explorer tablet for kids and several books and movies. The comparison also revealed some additional online shopping perks, such as the fact that Amazon doesn't collect sales tax in most states. Free shipping on many orders and the convenience of shopping from home, away from the crowds, add to the appeal. Plus, it can be easier to compare items to get the best deal when shopping online, as opposed to running from store to store to compare specs and prices.
Take Advantage of Outlets.
Our recent research on outlet shopping vs. retail
showed the outlet mall to be a real money saver, offering nearly 30 percent savings on a list of gifts and other holiday items. If there's an outlet mall near you, it can't hurt to check it out.
Are you making a holiday budget this year? If so how do you plan to stick to it?
Posted on 11/28/2011 9:53 EST
In addition to our full blog post on our favorite Cyber Monday deals, here are some newly announced deals for you:
Groupon's Cyber Monday Deals.
Best Buy Cyber Monday Sale.
Kohls.com Cyber Monday Sale. (20% off and free shipping.)
Home Depot Cyber Monday Sale. (Use coupon code CYBERHD to get another $5 off orders $50 or more.)
HP Snapfish Cyber Monday Sale. (Use coupon code PENNYNOV for 1 cent prints and 50% off sitewide.)
Cyber Monday Deals from our partners at Savings.com:
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Posted on 11/25/2011 16:09 EST
We were hard at work this week bringing you the best deals for Black Friday and finding our favorite picks for netbooks, tablets, and air mattresses. We also had lots of information about Cyber Monday, so it's not too late to score more great deals.
If you love the portability of an iPad or Tablet but miss the keyboard, a netbook is the perfect compromise. Portable, yet surprisingly powerful, a netbook is a great fit for a student or professional who likes to work on-the-go
and isn't planning on any intense gaming or use of bulky programs. Take notes, check Facebook, and read your email on our favorite cheap netbooks
Our buying guide for the best cheap tablets
has been updated to reflect new additions to the market. Tablets have made their way onto many wish lists this year, so make sure to check out our tablets deals
page, as well.
A cheap air mattress is a comfortable and practical way to accommodate guests. We reviewed the best cheap air mattresses
suitable for out of town guests and camping.
New Blog Posts:
Black Friday Staff Picks.
The staff at Cheapism has been working hard to find the best Black Friday deals. Along the way, we found a few deals for ourselves. In our Black Friday Staff Picks
blog entry, we let you in on our favorite deals this year.
Cyber Monday Deals.
If you'd prefer to recover quietly on Friday (or just aren't a fan of pushy crowds), you'll still have a slew of deals to choose among. We found the best Cyber Monday deals and shopping tips.
Frugal Christmas Decorations.
Making your home look festive and bright doesn't need to cost a bundle. Read our tips on holiday decoration and cheap artificial Christmas trees
for unexpected places to score money-saving
deals on holiday décor.
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We've partnered with Savings.com, which specializes in finding deals and coupons from across the internet. Here are their Black Friday deals and coupons:
powered by Savings.com