The holidays are very busy and often very stressful times, not only for your sanity but for your wallet too. Being disorganized is not only annoying, but it costs you time and money. Consider these five ways that getting organized helps keep more money in your pocket and ensures a stress-free holiday season.
1. Make a holiday checklist
The best way to have a stress free holiday is to start by creating a master to-do list with everything you need and want to get done over the next few weeks. Whether it’s an online calendar, an app reminder on your smartphone or a large whiteboard in your kitchen, use whatever system works for you.
Once you’ve made the a holiday task list, break each one down into smaller chunks and deadlines. This ensures you have time to plan out everything, from meals, to gift giving to holiday parties. And when you have more time to plan ahead, you’re less likely to overspend and become stressed – because you’ve given yourself plenty of time to handle any emergencies or problems that come up.
2. Set a holiday budget
Without a doubt, the holiday season is one of the most expensive times of the year. Between shopping, traveling and buying everything you need to host a meal, it’s easy to let your “to-buy” list run wild. But rather than panicking, set a holiday budget right now and plan ahead so you know exactly how much you can spend this year.
Once you have a ballpark figure to work with, and don’t forget to add in everything from gifts to decoration, determine exactly where you want your money to go. For instance, how much on will be put towards gifts? How much will you spend on travel? You need a clear idea of how much you can spend before you start shopping.
3. Do an inventory check
Once you’ve set your holiday budget, you need to do a quick inventory check of what you already have and what you don’t. How many times have you gone through your belongings, searching for an item you know you already have, only to finally give up and go buy another?
The same thing applies to shopping for the holidays. Whether it’s wrapping paper, Christmas cards or buying more holiday decorations, doing a quick inventory of what you already own will prevent you from buying costly duplicates.
And even if the purchases are minor, any impromptu shopping trips can cost you some big money over time – not to mention the cost of transportation and the time you lose. Having a list of all your holiday belongings at your fingertips, will save you hours of aggravation.
4. Perform a thorough declutter
In all likelihood, there will be lots of people going in and coming out of your house during the holidays. So take the time to do a thorough declutter now, and get rid of anything you don’t need or that just takes up extra space.
If you start cleaning out your closets now, you can make room for your guests belongings, extra coats, shoes and even be able to store those gifts and decorations in a safe place. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustrations as the holidays get closer. And now that you have less clutter, your home will stay neat and organized.
5. Make some extra cash
While you’re getting rid of unnecessary clutter, take advantage of this time to sell stuff on Craigslist or have a yard sale. This is the perfect way to get rid of a few things while making some extra cash. You can also donate your belongings to charitable organizations for tax credit or put them up on Freecyle for someone who really needs it.
Another great way to make some extra cash is by offering your services to help other people during this crazy and hectic time of year. Try things like assisting with decorations, offering gift wrapping services or volunteer to house or pet sit. You could even make holiday themed jewelry or decorations and sell them online. We could all use a little extra help during this time, so offer your time and you could make some extra money.
Image by Mr. T in DC