Managing this modern life can be very challenging. It can be especially challenging during the holiday season. After all, there will be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and carolers… oh, the carolers. This is the time of year when being organized is critical. Even the slightest misstep could land you back at the mall or supercenter with the mob of holiday shoppers.
To thwart the stresses of the season we have included a list of possible solutions for the three biggest control issues at hand. Surely, there are other stresses, but if you can take control of these things you will be much better prepared to tackle the other stuff… like how to have Aunt Tina and Cousin Larry at the same party without having to hire security.
savour… guiding your own sleigh
- Make a budget – Hopefully, you already have the money saved up from last year. If you don’t, decide how much you can spend comfortably and stick to it.
- Make a list – Work within the decided budget to make gift choices. If you have a more expensive gift in mind for one recipient, you may have to lower the allocation for the others on the list. Prioritize your list by the amount and gift type (family vs. co-workers). Be sure to include any “Secret Santa” gifts for which you will be responsible.
- Use cash – If you set aside a pre-determined amount of cash you will be less likely to overspend. Stick to cash only and save your receipts.
- Stay out of the store – If you aren’t at the mall, they won’t be able to lure you into impulse purchases.
- Don’t skip meals – While this may seem like the solution, it actually works counter to what is best for weight control/loss. You still need 5 or 6 small meals per day to keep your “fat furnace” burning.
- Eat high fiber foods before you head to the party – High fiber foods like whole grains “fool” your stomach into thinking that you are full.
- Eat small portions of the foods you love – The holidays bring on lots of tasty foods. Don’t deprive yourself of your favorites. Do, however, stay in control. Just have smaller portions of the things you love to enjoy the experience.
- Stay away from the buffet – I don’t guess I need to explain this one. Buffets are dangerous.
- Drink plenty of water – Don’t slack on this during the holidays. Not only does it affect your body in so many positive ways, but it also helps to “fool” your stomach into thinking you are full.
- Keep healthy snacks at work – It’s hard enough to stay focused on eating right. Now toss in co-workers bringing in treats or missing lunches to cover vacationing colleagues. These variables make it very difficult to stay on track. Having sensible snacks on hand will make it easier for you to keep hunger at bay.
- Keep exercising – Even if you can’t do the full version of your workout, be sure to get some regular exercise 4 or 5 times per week.
- Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again – People slip. If you have a weak moment… or day… or week, don’t beat yourself up. It is never too late to get on track. Recommit to your goals and start again.
- Plan ahead – Write it all down. Think of everything that will require some of your holiday money.
- Make a budget – Estimate the cost of the items on your list. Make any necessary adjustments now. This might mean cutting something.
- Consider a potluck party – Hosting a holiday party can be quite expensive. By throwing a party with a more cooperative feel, you can cut down the cost dramatically. To reduce costs even further, try a punch instead of a full cocktail service.
- Plan for shows and attractions – Decide which shows you will see. If you want to try something new, you might consider doing it in lieu of your traditional show or concert.
- Pay your bills… on time – The holiday season is a very hectic time. It is easy to forget to pay the bills. While it might not have an immediate impact on your holiday budget, the late charges could add up to a painful level. Be diligent and put these dates in your calendar or pre-schedule them through your online banking service.