Tuesday bits: Holiday traveling, marriage and money

Should You Consolidate Your Federal Student Loans?
Student loan consolidation is often touted as one of the big perks of using federal student loans. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths out there about consolidating your student loans. This leads many graduates to assume that consolidating their loans is a great option—or even the only option if they want to get out of making umpteen separate payments each month.

Why Getting Married Made It Easier For Me To Save Money
It’s a little ironic to have marriage and savings in the same sentence, since weddings are the equivalent of sacrificing your first born just to pay for them. But the wedding day is where the priceless moments happen, a pivotal experience that made me realize everything was about to change, for the better.

The best and worst ways to budget for the holidays
We checked in with some of Canada’s top personal finance experts for their best budget tips, but also their biggest blunders, because even the smartest money-handlers know holiday pressure can lead to poor decisions. Historically, I have observed that traveling on Christmas Day is much cheaper than the days before or the days after.

Here in America, people celebrate Christmas on Christmas Day. In some European countries, they celebrate on the 24th. This year, I’ve noticed that fares were not cheaper on the 25th. The likely reason is that Christmas Day is on a Sunday. Most people are looking to fly home from their travels and head back to work the next day. If you haven’t booked your travels yet, expect to pay a premium as we are now inside of three weeks (airlines typically have lower fares, even around the holidays if you book more than three weeks in advance.)

A sample trip between D.C. and San Francisco today is less expensive on Christmas Day. Flying west on the 25th and returning later that week will cost you about $700 round-trip. Traveling the day before or the day after will cost you about $100 more. Funny, going in the other direction the differential in pricing between Christmas Day and the day before or after is much greater. Christmas Day flights are about $675, but flights on adjacent days are fetching about $1,000. Book your travels early!


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