By Deb Cabral
| Special to the Observer-Dispatch
It’s never too early to start preparing for the holiday season. Planning ahead can help avoid unnecessary stress.
Here are some tips to get everything done, save money and actually have time to enjoy the holidays.
Shop Smarter and Save Money
Without proper planning, you’re unknowingly setting yourself up to overspend. Before heading out to shop, make sure you create a thorough shopping list. The list should include gift ideas, sizes and the budget for each person. Remember, don’t leave home without your store coupons, and/or store apps loaded on your smartphone. The savings can be big and the rewards great. Plan ahead and you’ll save time and money!
Ask the family to help
The holidays are supposed to be about spending time with family and friends, not about feeling stressed trying to do everything by yourself! Make sure your To Do List contains only those things that are absolutely necessary and then delegate half of it. Family members can help with all aspects of the holidays — shopping, wrapping, cleaning, cooking, decorating etc. More hands make lighter work!
Avoid the Crowds and Shop Online
This strategy is more important than ever, as we are still dealing with the pandemic. Most retailers have online specials and even offer free shipping. Take advantage of coupon codes posted on websites such as retainmenot.com or promocodes.com and save big! Keep track of the items you order online, including where you ordered them. Once they are delivered, cross them off the list. It’s easy to forget what you’ve ordered and not even realize when something doesn’t arrive.
Create a Holiday Card Box
Use a plastic container, basket or shoebox to keep everything you need all in one place to write out your holiday cards. It should include your cards, several pens, return address labels, stamps and addresses (or for those super organized folks, your printed address labels). If your card list is long and you want to include a personal note in each one, set a goal of writing 10 to 15 cards a day. Bring the box with you and make your wait at the doctor’s office or anywhere else you have to wait productive!
Plan your holiday meals
It’s nice to have a home cooked meal, but if you are entertaining several times during the holidays, consider catering a meal or two. Order early because some restaurants stop taking orders by the middle of December. Consider ordering from local, family-owned businesses who have had a difficult year because of COVID-19. We all need to support each other, especially during the holiday season.
Next week we will discuss even more ways to get an early start on holiday planning!
Look for more organizing tips from Deb in the Observer-Dispatch every Sunday and on her website decluttercoachdeb.com. You can follow her on social media and watch her TV show Organization Motivation! at organizationmotivation.com.