Four Tips for surviving the Holiday season
All the candy has been eaten, the faux cobwebs and skeletons are being taken down, but there is a new fright lurking in the air....Its November 1st, and it is officially the beginning of the holiday season. Every year around this time. i begin to mentally think about how much i have to accomplish within the next two months. This is officially the time of year for overspending, overeating, and flat out indulgences of every kind. In the spirit of sharing (this is a giving month after all ), i have devised four easy tips to help you survive this holiday season.
Tip # 1 : Plan, Plan , Plan.
We have all heard that phrase , "those who fail to plan, plan to fail", this phrase is very relevant during this time of year. Most Americans, myself included do not have a real, and flexible game plan for the holiday season. This plan would include a full budget (gifts, and grocery expense), with space for unexpected purchases. And unexpected purchases do happen. One year my parents oven stopped working (After weeks of turning on and off) the day before thanksgiving, that night my dad and i went to Lowes to buy a new stove, basically saving our thanksgiving dinner. This takes me to my next point in your planning. Avoid being too tightfisted that you forget to be flexible. If at all possible create space in your budget (I use everydollar.com ) for just in case gifts, tickets, or grocery item. Don't think you have the extra cash? If you don't bring your lunch or coffee from home everyday, maybe you can forgo eating lunch out, or a coffee every day for a month. These indulgences add up ! This could be extra money in your shopping budget for the holidays. You may have already budgeted your shopping, but the extra cash wont hurt. And if you actually stay on budget without any unexpected surprise, you have extra cash to put towards something else. Its a win, win situation.
Tip # 2 : Shop around
Chances are you have been to target last week and have already noticed that there are Christmas decorations on the back wall. Stores are always way ahead of us during the holidays, reminding us that we need something we most likely will not get until the last minute. As a consumer the best way to avoid last minute purchases and inflated prices is to shop around. There are plenty of ways to find great deals without leaving your house. Create an email address just for store notifications of sales, or download Apps to help you compare prices of popular items. There really is no excuse to pay more, when you can find ways to save for free. * Apps i love : Flipp , SavingStar, Target app, ShopSavvy, and Retale are available for Andriod and Apple. *
Tip # 3 : Book Airline Tickets in Advance
If you plan on traveling during November and you have not booked your airline ticket as of November 1st, i cringe for you. The week of Thanksgiving to the Sunday after thanksgiving, is the most expensive time of the year to travel. I have flown during the holiday season (Texas to New York, and now San Francisco to New York) every year for over 10 years, and i can tell you 100% of the time that if you wait until November to buy a ticket you will pay more. My Tip is to use apps like Hopper to monitor airline prices. You can set it up to notify you when ticket prices rise and when a deal is available. Expedia is also a great tool for monitoring tickets, they are also one of the few sites that do not charge a third party fee when purchasing tickets from their site. The Ideal time to purchase Thanksgiving tickets is September 1st to 5th, historically tickets for thanksgiving are at there lowest. Christmas tickets are relatively low from September to end of October. Of course the closer your travel date to the actual holiday (day before thanksgiving/day before Christmas) the more expensive the airline ticket.
Tip #4 : Enjoy the Holidays
The holidays can be stressful, but it does not have to be stressful. We make plans to protect ourselves, but sometimes those plans do not go exactly the way we hoped. At those moments we readjust and move on. Remember the holidays are supposed to be fun, and memorable, do not spend so much time planning, that you forget to enjoy the season of gatherings. Do you have any tips for the holidays? Comment below, to share tips that you have used during this season.