Whether it’s buying gifts, mailing greeting cards or visiting family, the list of things to do during the holiday season can be overwhelming.
However, a little advanced planning and some quick budgeting can save you a lot of time and hassle.
First and foremost, everyone wants to look great for holiday events and pictures. To make sure you look your best for every party, plan your wardrobe and accessories in advance.
This can help save you the time of trying to decide what to wear and avoid rushing. Try on outfits or experiment with a new hairstyle a week before the function. This will allow you time to make any necessary adjustments or purchase any items with plenty of time to spare!
Before you begin to shop, make a list of people you plan to buy for. Then set a budget of how much you can afford to spend on each person. Writing things down on paper can help emphasize your budget and make you more likely to stick to it.
Once your list and budget have been established, start thinking about potential gifts that fall within your price range. During the holiday season, many stores send out circulars and fliers with special offers. Compare the discounts available and be sure you read the fine print. You don’t want to get roped into signing up for another store credit card you don’t really need. Shopping online is also a popular way to buy gifts, and many websites offer free shipping this time of year.
To avoid the post-holiday stress of a large credit card bill, you might also consider shopping for gifts throughout the year and storing them away. If this isn’t really your style, many banks offer holiday savings clubs in which you can set aside a specific amount of money each week. These funds can then be withdrawn just before the holidays, allowing you to be free to shop without racking up huge debts.
If you are the type of person who likes to send out holiday greeting cards, try buying next year’s cards at a post-holiday sale when these items are severely discounted. If you prefer to send picture cards, be sure to schedule your photo shoot well in advance. This is because many portrait studios are booked solid this time of year. Additionally, some studios take 2-4 weeks to get the pictures to you, so you want to allow plenty of time to actually mail the cards. Be sure to ask for permission slips, or purchase a package that allows for images to duplicated, in order to avoid any potential copyright issues.
As postage costs continue to rise, consider sending an e-greeting in place of a physical card. If traditional greeting methods are important to you, considering paring down your card list to just your closest friends and family.
It can also help save time if you address envelopes in advance. The earlier you mail cards the better. Delivery services get bogged down with extra parcels during the holidays, so you want to allow ample time for delivery.
When grocery shopping for holiday meals and parties, create a list of every event you plan to attend this season. Decide what you need to make, or bring, to each occasion. Then make a list of the supplies you will need to purchase. Having the necessary baking ingredients or supplies on hand can save time and gas by eliminating multiple trips to the grocery store.
So if you know you are attending three parties and need to bring a bottle of wine to each, just buy all three bottles in one shopping trip and save yourself the time of making a mad dash to the store 15 minutes before the party starts.
Use these great tips and enjoy a happy holiday season!
Katie Clontz is a staff writer and customer service representative for Pro Extensions. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University and has previously worked for publications such as The Courier-Times, The Knightstown Banner and Angie’s List.