Holiday hints to save your sanity (and your money!)

Do you think the holiday season is stressful? It doesn’t have to be.  You can do a few simple items this year to make sure your holiday season – right now and in the future – becomes a season that you look forward to time and time again. 

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Trade services instead of giving gifts. Think those coupons aren’t worth much? Many of them can be more valuable than the present that will stretch your financial limits.  Think about the person you’re giving a gift to and what they really need, often it’s your time and talents.  Consider these great options:

  • New parents (OK most parents): Free Babysitting  (confession time – this may be the best gift we’ve ever received)
  • Friends with a big project: Afternoon of Organizing Assistance
  • College Student: Home-Baked Dinner or Free Laundry at your House
  • Your Grandparent: Afternoon of games & tea

 

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Make gift cards work for you. This is the time of year where every retailer seems to be offering a bonus deal if you purchase their gift card.  Buy what you’ll use for yourself in the next year to save you money.  We’ve stocked up on restaurant gift cards, dessert gift cards and movie gift cards – and we’ve gotten tons of freebies on each of them. Now – the things we’ll buy anyway – are giving us more for our money.

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Update your holiday card list easily. As you receive cards from friends and family this year, check the return addresses with your address book and update any information changes.  I keep my address book in the Kitchen Information Station to make sure it’s easily accessible.

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Make a shopping list that saves you money. Write down basic items that you purchased at full price or last-minute this year and make a plan to go after-Christmas shopping to get these items on sale for next year. We always purchase wrapping paper, gift bags, gift trimmings, tissue paper, and cute gifts after Christmas and store them in our gift & decorating station so we’re prepared for any gift throughout the year. Tip! Look for non-Christmas options too, so you can use these savings all year.

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Create an electronic list for your holiday cards.  Tired of deciphering your hand-written list or is it too much trouble to go through your address book each year? A simple word or excel document will make your list more organized.  Organize by family last names and include relevant information like first names, addresses, anniversaries, birthdays and children’s names. We also have columns for who to include in our monthly cards and our Christmas cards, helping us update the list quickly.  I store the printed excel document in the front cover of my address book.

Save time and money this holiday season and in the future – even if you just do one of these items, it can make a big difference for you now and in the future.

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