Stressing about the holidays? Don’t fret! You are in good company. The most wonderful time of the year can also be the hardest. Buying presents, family obligations, getting through LA traffic and not having enough time to do any of it can bring the most jolliest of people to start acting like the Grinch. So we at The Task Runners, asked our family, friends, and clients to tell us what overwhelms them about the holidays?
Survey says…… having the time and money to buy presents. While it can seem overwhelming in the moment, all you need to do is plan out the time and create a budget . Too many of us buy presents, go to parties, over book and over extend ourselves financially around the holiday season. It is not going to be a happy holiday when you start the New Year off in debt and exhausted.
Let’s start with presents! Make a list of who you will be giving a gift to for the holidays. Once you have your list of people, it is time to brainstorm and figure out what gift you would most like to give to each person. Most of us waste time and over pay when it comes to buying presents because we don’t plan on sales or have a specific present in mind. This leads to aimless walking, tired feet, wasted time and lots of frustration. So lets nip that holiday tradition in the bud! In order to save time when buying presents, know what you are looking for and plan the days in advance when you will be shopping. Make a weekly appointment starting after Thanksgiving where you go shopping for a set amount of time every week. The amount of time will be in proportion to the amount of gifts you need to buy. We suggest doing your shopping in small increments compared to marathon day shopping so that you don’t get burned out and start losing your holiday spirit. Nobody likes a Scrooge!
Now, onto making this holiday debt free! Since most people don’t create a budget around the holidays it is easy to overspend. Creating a budget is simple and can make shopping even easier. All you have to do is look at your bank statement. After subtracting bills and other monthly expenses, look at the amount remaining. Then decide what from that amount you are comfortable spending. This will be different for everyone. After coming up with the budget look at the present list once again and make any necessary changes.
Here are some ways to save money on presents:
- Consider having a Secret Santa. You can cut down the spending on a whole group of people and focus on buying one great gift. Less time shopping and you can save money!
- Buy in bulk! That’s right, some bulk buying stores like Cosco have great chocolates, holiday gift baskets and other treats that are pocket friendly.
- Look into layaway. Some stores offer this service to help you pay off a gift over a period of time. This is a great tool to be used!
Now we have our list of people, list of presents and how much we can spend. See which items on your list can be found at the same stores. This short look will save lots of time on driving and the number of stores you have to shop. Next, find out when the stores you need to go to are having sales by checking their websites or flyers that are sent in the mail. After knowing the sale days, you can coordinate the sales to your weekly shopping day, so that you get to shop and save! Not a people person? Not a problem! Most stores understand that not all of us like crowds, so they offer online sales the same day as the in store sale. Take advantage of this option! Not having to deal with traffic in LA is a gift in itself. Last but not least, don’t be afraid to hire extra help. No one can be in a million places at once- especially around the holidays. If you are looking at your schedule and finding time to wrap, ship and deliver presents is not possible- outsource! There are many companies that offer gift-wrapping, gift delivery and shopping services. Take advantage of these services around the holiday so that you can have that extra time to spend with loved ones.