By Rhonda Dehaini • November 03, 2017
The spooky decorations are coming down, but the smell of pumpkin pie still lingers in the air. The holiday season is upon us! Nothing heralds impending chaos like holiday parties, family dinners, and last minute trips, but that doesn't mean the complete pandemonium has to get you down. Cut down on the stress -- and spending -- with some simple tips. Good preparation makes for good savings, leaving you to enjoy the whirlwind of cheer and caroling.
Let's start with some personal "insurance". If you're traveling, you want your property and belongings to be safe while you're gone so make sure all smoke alarms and leak detectors are in working order. Unplug those power-sucking devices to prevent both fire hazards and unnecessary electricity bills. If you're having company over and are planning to make a meal, make sure your appliances are in tip-top shape. A broken fridge, oven, or dishwasher can be a pain, and in some cases may lead to unforeseen costs for last-minute fixes. Do your guests have kids? Do some light childproofing. For their sake and yours.
Kennels fill up quickly during the holiday season, so make sure you call early. Again, last-minute decisions cost you time, money, and your calm composure. See if someone you trust will be a pet or house sitter while you're away. This will give you added peace of mind since you'll know both your pet and your home are in good hands. Ask your connections to see if they know a good housesitter, and get to know the person a bit in advance if you can. That way you'll feel more comfortable entrusting them with your precious pets.
We all know the drill, the earlier the better. Make a list of all the people on your list, check it twice, and then take advantage of good deals and sales as you see them. Nevertheless, there will be some forgotten gifts that you'll need to put a rush on. For these, have a list prepared in advance for generic gifts. This way if you see something nice for a good deal, you can buy it and add it to your emergency gift bin. You can also try spending a day baking and crafting homemade cards as a family and friends activity. A baked good on a cheap but cute ceramic plate (think dollar store) and a nice card can go a long way for neighbors, teachers, and friends.
Clean out that fridge. You've been meaning to do it for a while now, and 'tis the season! Knowing what you have in your freezer, fridge, and pantry will save you time and money when you're whipping up a meal or hosting a dinner party. Any extraneous canned goods can be taken to a food drive, and be sure to keep an eye on great deals when shopping in case you'd like to pick up an extra can or two to include in your donation. Use that extra space for leftovers. Frozen meals will save you valuable time post-holidays. Try to plan what ingredients or main staples you'll need so you can start looking for sales now. Not to mention, planning a menu is easier when you know the dietary restrictions of your guests far in advance.
Food, hotels, gifts, decorations there's a coupon for everything. And we would know. Remember to check for coupons as you're doing your holiday rounds, you'd be surprised at how much you can save during the holidays in particular!
Rhonda Dehaini Rhonda Dehaini is a freelance writer from California with a passion for savings and hunting down the best deals. Her experience working in the online media industry includes freelance work, marketing, and blogging. As an avid traveler, pet owner, and pop culture addict she knows how to budget expenses so she can live the life she loves without limitations.