Besides the usual holiday expenses such as gifts, parties, and others, it may also be necessary to budget holiday travel expenses.

One way to keep an eye on your holiday budget is to use a software program such as Mint. You can create ”holiday shopping” as a line item in your budget, and Mint shows you how your overall spending decisions will affect how much you have left by the time you need to shop, and also helps you re-adjust your budget in other areas.

If you’re planning on traveling during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays this year, advance planning is the only way to go. Previous years indicate that airlines start pitching holiday sales right after Labor Day, holiday flights are at their cheapest during the first half of October, and Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days to snag a deal. The best way to find out is compare what’s on offer for several days among multiple providers. You can also sign up for travel alerts from sites like Kayak or AirfareWatchdog so you’ll be notified when the price changes.

Even if you are driving to your holiday destination, you will need to consider how long it will take you and how much time you need off, gas expenses and other maintenance such as a checkup or oil changes.

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