With less than 5 weeks until Christmas, the pressure to buy presents starts earlier and earlier every year. And every year around this same time, most people stress about how they’re going to afford to give gifts to everyone they care about.
Setting a holiday budget is a good way to avoid the pitfalls of over-shopping and overspending. Come up with a plan of action now to avoid that last-minute pressure to spend more money than you have.
Make a List (and Check it Twice): Like Santa, it’s a good idea to make a list of all the people you intend to shop for this year. Include family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and anyone else you’d like to put on your gift list. Then go through the list and set a dollar limit for each person. Your kids and parents might have a large price tag, while neighbors max out at $5-and that’s okay. By knowing what you’re willing to spend on each person, you can have a better idea of what to expect as a final cost.
Start Saving Early: Instead of paying for all the gifts at once, you can budget the holiday season all year round. Ideally, you should set aside some money every month for holiday gifts (even $50/month will net you $600 at the end of the year). If this isn’t possible, you can at least start shopping early. By grabbing some of the gifts in September, October, and November, you can avoid the last-minute pressure to pull out the credit cards come December.
Pre-Shop Online (or in Catalogs): Some people know exactly what they want to buy as gifts, while others won’t know the perfect gift until they see it. Both of these work as approaches to gift giving, but it’s easier to stick to a budget if you have a good idea of what things cost. In your spare time, head to a few online shops or pick up catalogs at your favorite stores. You don’t have to buy anything yet, but you can get a good idea of what you can expect to pay for the items on your list. This is an especially helpful idea if you’ll be making some of the gifts, as you can start searching for ideas on Pinterest and other crafting websites.
Buy in Bulk: Although you’ll want to personalize the gifts you give to those closest to you, it’s smart to buy in bulk for neighbors, coworkers, and the like. Consider baking a large batch of sweet treats, making mass quantities of sugar scrub from scratch, or brewing your own beer-these can be incredibly cost-effective and nice gifts if you have a large list of people to give to.
Above all else, keep track of your spending. The easiest way to break or go over a budget is to assume that you’re within your limits. By recording every purchase and making sure you aren’t going over, you’ll be much more likely to get through this holiday season with your wallet intact.
Here are a few quick tips to make their visit is fun and stress free!
Put out Slippers or Ask Your Guests To Remove Their Shoes Upon Entry:
You may want to keep your floors clean and ask your guests to take off their shoes OR put out slippers, which you can buy for cheap at Walmart or Target. This will not only demonstrate your welcoming consideration, but it’ll add an air of coziness to your home.
Convert Your Rooms:
You’ll need extra sleeping accommodations, so you might want to start converting any spare rooms into guests’ quarters. Look for some old couches or purchase a blow-up mattress or two. You may also want to go shopping for a futon so your guests can sit up and talk and have a place to sleep. For added convenience, put a mini fridge in your guest room that’s stocked with beverages.
Plan Fun Activities:
Keep your family members on their toes with activities. Look online for places to hang out, like a nearby bowling alley or shopping areas. If the weather permits, set up a volleyball net in the backyard or take the fun indoors with group games like Taboo and Pictionary. At night, play holiday movies, such as A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Christmas Story.
It’s Back To School Time… which means GERM Season is back!
Yes, end of Summer is here, which means settling back into the comfortable routine of days marked by the ringing of school bells. It also means cold and flu season lurking just around the corner. Every parent dreads their child getting sick when school starts, even if it’s “just” a cold.
At best, you have a child not feeling well, not eating or sleeping well-a child missing school and parents missing work. At worst, a cold occasionally develops into something more, requiring a visit to the doctor and medical attention. What’s an overworked, sleep-deprived parent to do? Especially if they can’t afford to miss work? Well, here are some facts and practical tips to help keep your family healthy this cold and flu season.
Colds and flu are caused by viruses, not bacteria. Viruses are one type of germ that infects cells and makes us ill. Here are some common illnesses from viruses:
Head cold: Many colds are caused by rhinoviruses. Rhino means nose in Greek, so these are viruses that infect the nose. We get runny and stuffy noses when we have colds because that is where the virus is setting up shop.
Stomach flu: Rhinoviruses are actually one of a group of viruses called enteroviruses. Entero means intestine in Greek. These viruses infect our gastrointestinal tract, causing sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea-an illness some people call the stomach flu.
Influenza: A stomach “bug” is different from the actual flu, which is caused by the influenza virus. Influenza comes from the Italian word for influence of the stars. In medieval Europe, people thought outbreaks of colds and flu were caused by the movement of the stars.
Unlike bacterial infections, which can be treated with antibiotics, there are no medicines we can take to kill the viruses that cause colds and flu. We have to rely on our immune systems to do that job for us.
Hand Washing frequently with soap and water-and always before eating, after using the restroom and after being in a public place. Regular soap is fine; antibacterial soap isn’t necessary because colds are caused by viruses not bacteria.
Avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils, washcloths, toys, etc.
Cough or sneeze in a tissue or the crook of the elbow instead of the bare hand.
It is recommend if a child has a fever they can return to school 24 hours after fever has broken. Please do not send your child to school with a fever.
Give your child a box of tissue to keep in their desk/cubby as well as keep a box of tissue at your desk.
Use Hand Sanitizer
Cold and flu viruses are not airborne. You can’t catch a cold just by being in the same room as someone who’s sick.