PLAN CHRISTMAS to reduce STRESS and SAVE money.
Start your planning now by using some of the ideas readers have sent to reduce the inevitable stress of the season:
- Write out your gift list and carry the list with you as you shop, crossing off people as you buy;
- Write out your holiday calendar showing events you need to plan, prepare for or simply remember;
- Stick to a reasonable budget with a gift buying list; and stick to your list to avoid overspending;
- Hosting a holiday dinner: write out your menu way in advance so you can modify when you see sale specials;
- Take advantage of sales as they take place; retail competition means sales are inevitable, even before Christmas;
- As most readers write in advising how to save money: price compare, shop at your favourite stores, ask about discounts or if an item is due to be put on sale soon (so you can postpone the purchase until the sale takes place). Retailers are often willing to warn you of imminent sales, after all the clerks are shoppers too; remember to ask about SENIORS discounts.
- Read the flyers diligently and group your retailers in one run lists, meaning try to shop at stores that all near each other to save you from zig zagging from store to store wasting time and gas;
- Buy wrapping supplies in bulk but not stuff you won’t consider using again; it won’t spoil and you will be ahead of the game for next year;
- Avoid buying items from the front of the store as usually these items are useful but not really on sale, just handy at the cash;
- Keep all your receipts in one envelope so you dont have to hunt for one after as they are all in one place and you will need them, bet on it;
- Ask yourself hard questions: “Is this worth the price? Will I really use it? Will the person I am buying for really use it?” Try to avoid emotional buying at this very emotional time.
- Finally, do remember to give what you can to the needy; the Salvation Army looks for donations to help the needy; your church likely has food drives; there are many needy people for whom Christmas can be better if you help. No matter how big or small your donation may be, give what you can but give something.