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.
WHAT is a Hurricane: Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over the water and move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. These large storms are called typhoons in the North Pacific Ocean and cyclones in other parts of the world. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale classifies hurricanes into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure, and wind damage potential. With wind speeds of 111 miles per hour or more, Category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes are major according to this scale. Category 1 and 2 hurricanes can also cause damage and injuries.
WHEN does it happen: The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30.
WHERE does it happen: Each year, many parts of the United States experience heavy rains, strong winds, floods, and coastal storm surges from tropical storms and hurricanes. Affected areas include all Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, parts of the Southwest, the Pacific Coast, and the U.S. territories in the Pacific.
EVACUATE Because hurricanes can be detected and tracked in advance of making landfall, residents in the storm’s path often get several days of advance notice. When a hurricane threatens your area, the best action to protect yourself and your family from the high winds and flooding caused by hurricanes is to evacuate when ordered to do so, before those conditions hit your area. Know and follow the directions from local officials for community evacuation or seek higher ground for localized flooding. If you expect to go to a shelter after evacuating, download the American Red Cross Shelter Finder App atwww.redcross.org/mobile-apps/shelter-finder-app.
REINFORCE FOR WIND, ELEVATE FOR WATER Your goal now, before a hurricane occurs, is to reduce the risk of damage to structures from winds and flooding. This includes strengthening the building’s outer shell—including the doors, windows, walls, and roof—and removing or securing all objects and non-building structures, as well as clearing the outside areas around the building. Measures to protect against potential flooding include waterproofing basements and elevating critical utilities (e.g., electrical panels and heating systems). In flood-prone areas, consider elevating the entire structure.
INSURANCE Purchasing flood insurance provides financial protection for the cost of repairs due to flood damage. Standard insurance policies do not cover flooding, including storm surge flooding, but flood insurance is available for homeowners, renters, and business owners through the National Flood Insurance Program. You may also be able to purchase insurance for wind.
Store your supplies so you can grab them quickly if you need to evacuate; know in advance what else you will need to take. Take time now to make a list of the things you would need or want to take with you if you had to leave your home quickly. Store the basic emergency supplies in a “Go Bag” or other container. Be ready to grab other essential items quickly before leaving. Remember to include specialized items for people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, such as older adults, children, and those with Limited English Proficiency.
Here are some suggestions to consider: –
Flashlight and radio, either hand-cranked or battery-powered, with extra batteries
At least 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days. A normally active person needs about three-quarters of fluid daily, from water and other beverages. Water is also needed for food preparation and sanitation
At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food for members of your household, including pet food and considerations for special dietary needs. Include a nonelectric can opener for canned food
First aid kit, medications, and medical supplies; and Battery backup power for power-dependent mobility devices, oxygen, and other assistive technology needs.
Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person, if you live in a cold-weather climate.
Personal documents: Birth Certificate, Passport… etc.
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All of us at Florida Moving Systems, Inc, know it’s hard for children when you move and they have to start a new school. If you’ve recently moved your kids to a different school district or city, their transition is going to be made more challenging as they start a new school year. There are few things scarier than facing an entire classroom of new people, especially if they haven’t yet had time to adjust to their surroundings at home.
The best way to help your children transition is to start early. Take a few weeks before school starts up to give your kids an opportunity to meet new people and prepare for the upcoming year.
1. Arrange for a tour.
Most schools are happy to meet with new parents and students to walk you through the facilities. Make this appointment away from regular class hours so your child can familiarize him or herself with the school and ask any (potentially) embarrassing questions about the upcoming year.
2. Ask for a handbook.
Every school has a handbook of sorts—a guide to class hours, holidays, extracurricular activities, and school policies. Get your hands on one of these and read through it. Look for activities or events your child might enjoy and highlight the positive in these. You can also look for sports teams outside the school.
3. Get out in the community.
During the summer, community events for kids tend to be everywhere. Day camps, street fairs, public swimming pools, block parties—you might be unsure at the idea of getting out there and meeting people already, but it’s a good time to make the effort. Your child will appreciate having a few friendly faces in the crowd on the first day of school. (The library is also a good default option for this kind of thing, since you’re sure to find local kids roaming the shelves for their summer reading.)
4. Make each school day special.
A new outfit, a shiny pair of shoes, a note in their backpack, a promise to visit the zoo after school one day—any small thing you can do to brighten up the day is worthwhile. Give your child something to look forward to, and they’re likely to be more positive about the day as a whole.
5. Provide opportunities.
Even though you might not be ready to open your home to guests just yet or you might be feeling overwhelmed trying to make friends of your own, try to provide opportunities for your kids to mingle. Allow them to invite someone over for a special dinner or participate in neighborhood rituals to encourage socialization.
6. Give them space and time.
In your desire to see your child comfortable and settled, you might push too hard or make them feel like they’re failing at making friends fast enough. Experts suggest that getting used to a new school can take up to six weeks for younger kids (longer for teenagers), so be patient. They’ll get there.
Above all else, be sure and listen to your child. Kids may need to talk through their anxiety or verbalize their frustrations, and constantly pushing them to accept the changes may only make the situation worse. Listen more than you talk and be sure to show your child all the love and attention they need during this difficult time.