You know how Santa makes a list and checks it twice? That is exactly what we need to do. Make a master list of what you want and need to do before and during the holidays. Here are some organizing tips to get you started making out your list:
- Decide on a budget and stick to it. I know that is easier said than done, but come as close as you can. Set up a Christmas club where you bank. The plan is that you save a certain amount of money every month for Christmas. This is even easier if it is automatically taken out from your pay check because you never miss it.
- Write down your gift list. Do this on the computer and you will have a template for the next year. Make different categories; one for family, one for friends, neighbors, and for others at work or clubs where you exchange gifts.
- If you mail gifts you know how expensive it has become. But did you know you can mail in a priority mail flat rate box for $9.80? The beauty of this is it doesn’t matter how much it weighs. As long as you can stuff it in the box (I sealed mine with packing tape as it was bulging) it is the same rate. And the heavy box is free at the post office or order it on line at usps.com Also, mail early so it will get where you want it to go on time.
- Send a check or a gift card if you know where someone likes to shop. When I chose this type of gift I add the amount that postage that I would have paid so the one receiving my gift gets to spend it instead of giving it to the postal service.
- When buying toys for children keep in mind the “one in, one out” idea. Suggest to the grandparents to put money they planned on spending into the child’s saving account.
- Shop early. That can mean starting with the sales the day after Christmas. This is an especially good time because there are terrific sales and you can pick up great gifts at reasonable prices. When you shop early you find many great sales and the merchandise isn’t picked over like it is if you wait too long.
- Designate an envelope for all receipts and put them in it before you leave the counter when you purchase an item. Even if you just know it won’t be returned-do this. It will make your life easier if you or the recipient has a return to make. One of the best organizing tips I can give you is: set up a filing system (I love Freedom Filers system) and in the system label a hanging folder for receipts. When you get home, put the receipts in this folder and return the envelope to your purse.
- Be careful about giving a gift you have made thinking you will be saving money. Handmade gifts lovingly crafted are wonderful gifts, but sometimes are pricier than buying a gift.
- Buy family gifts and set a limit of how much each family will spend on each other. For something different choose a theme and buy gifts within that theme. (Games, movies, parties, food etc).
- Set a limit on how many parties you will attend in a week. This will free up your time to spend with your family and for yourself.
The holidays can be a wonderful time of the year and by putting thought into them and what we can do to make them less stressful will result in a holiday to look forward to instead of dreading for it to come.