- Find the coupons. As those Extreme Couponers will tell you, many go unredeemed. You can usually find multiple coupons for popular and large stores ranging from food to clothing to books (go with the books!).
- If you can, shop during Black Friday...or better yet, shop a year in advance. Right after Christmas, all of those items that stores have been pushing tend to be on clearance. You can't get a fruit basket in advance, but you can get beauty sets, small kitchen sets, bathroom sets, craft kits, etc... in advance.
- Do your grocery shopping the night before. My mom always bakes the food that takes over six hours to prepare roughly a day before. However, for the rest of the food preparation, she prefers to go shopping the night before the party. I used to question this logic, but it turns out that the stores are almost to completely empty! You don't need to fight other customers to find those frozen peas (hint...not everyone likes peas >.>)
- Not many people want to do all the cooking themselves. Have each attending family bring a dish. Make sure you know what they are bringing, however, or you could end up with multiples. Know in advance, too, if anyone you have invited has food allergies, you don't want a fun occasion to turn into a hospital trip or bad memory.
- If you are a computer fan, use a spreadsheet to keep track of families who send you holiday cards. If you prefer to write them down, an address book is always easy to flip through. Make sure you have the updated addresses of those you plan to send a card too.
- Budget in advance. If you don't know how much you plan to spend for gifts, food, and party preparation, it stands to reason you might spend more than you would want to. My mom always carefully notes how much she can afford to spend, she does keep track of roughly how much the other gift giver spends-keep it even.
- Keep your calendar up to date. This might seem like silly advice, but you'd be surprised how many people (I am guilty) assume they will remember events. When you are rushing around and trying to remember a whole list of things to do, the odds are high you will forget some. Calendars are not only for events either, you can always write down a pre-designed grocery or gift list.
- Buy those decorations early. If you can buy right after a holiday, these decorations will usually be on super sale! Why pay the full price if you can get at least half off (and you know you want those little Santas and reindeer you can hang in the window!)?
- Book early. If you are planning on flying anywhere during the holidays, you don't want to pay obscene prices. If you can book a plane and hotel ahead of time, you won't have to rush around trying to find a hotel that isn't already over-booked and you will likely save on the plane ticket. You might also want to look into rental cars...book one of those ahead of time as well, you never know.
- Have fun with it! You can't enjoy a holiday if you are constantly worrying. Don't get overstressed, use some occasions as an excuse to eat chocolate >.>, and relax a little.
“I wrote this blog post while participating in the Storkie holiday blogging program. I received compensation for my participation. All opinions are 100% mine.”