You know you’re going crazy. You just don’t know how to stop. You’ve been swept away with the holiday spirit and now it feels like it’s haunting you, rather than bringing you good cheer.
Your Thinking of Taking Out a Loan
You have run out of money, but you must buy more! Since your bank account is nearing empty and bills are coming due, you’re thinking of going to the paycheck loan and borrowing against your next paycheck with a hefty interest rate. Or perhaps you’re determining if you could get a new credit card right now.
Don’t do it. Nothing that you are buying right now is so important you must go in debt for it. The world will keep spinning and your family will be happy with what you already have acquired.
You Can’t Find The Floor Already
There are bags and boxes everywhere. Some of them are from the postal service and others are nicely wrapped sitting under or near the tree. Some are still in store bags waiting to be gotten to. If that wasn’t enough, you are expecting more to arrive any day now. In fact we’re coming down to the deadline and you’re stressed because those last packages might not make it in time.
Throw the empty boxes out. You may want keep a few around for wrapping, but getting rid of the clutter (or at least banishing it to a contained corner) will greatly reduce your stress.
And don’t forget, using gift bags are so much easier and faster than wrapping. If you’re feeling stressed about preparing all of these gifts, stop by the dollar store and grab a bunch of gift bags. Let go of the perfectly wrapped gifts imagined in your mind. The present will be just as appealing coming out of a gift bag. If you’re worried about little peaking eyes or fingers (or pets) leading up to Christmas day, just tape the top of the gift bag closed, then Christmas morning snip that layer of tape away before handing the gift bag to a little one to open.
You’re Sick and Tired
Your eyes are blood shot from staying up too late. You have been to stores until closing time. You have made the best of the ones that stay open for twenty four hours. Then you come home and wrap nonstop until morning and the kids are waking up. Your living off coffee and caffeine and half the time you don’t know what day it is. Then you go do the caroling, cookie drops, and parties. On top of that you think you are coming down with a terrible cold. Your mental state may not be the best.
Take a break. Take a nap. Go through caffeine withdrawal. You will feel better afterwards. You will think more clearly. Your perspective will snap back and the crazies will melt away.
How do you keep your sanity at this time of year?
You may have a cherished fuzzy friend. You may have children who have a cherished furry friend. Either way,as un-frugal as it may sound, you’re getting your pet a present this holiday season. How do you include your pet in the holiday celebration without adding too much of an expense?
Get Your Pet a Book
Yes, I am aware that your furry friend, while very talented in many areas, does not read. You, however, d, and you have incredible talents that can be gifted to your pet. You could pick up a recipe book designed for your pet’s dietary needs and let them enjoy your culinary skills. Or you could pick up a book of training tips. They make them for dogs as well as cats. There are even books on creating toys for your fur baby. The best part is you can often find these types of books on sale or at a discount.
A Pet Service
If you have children, and they want to get the family pet a present, have them find acts of service that aren’t already a part of their chore routine to give their fuzzy friend. Don’t include things like going for a walk or feeding. Do include items such as extra time with the laser pointer or other favorite toy. Have them devote extra time and effort in a grooming session or contribute to a tooth cleaning. Your pet will want some of these items and need others. Service can go a long way as a gift, even for an animal.
One of the cheapest gifts of all can be a can of tuna (water packed) or a bag of raw hide treats. For many animals food is one of the best gifts they can receive. Let the giving of human food (the tuna) be only for special occasions and the treats be spread out over the month.
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A stylish placemat for your pets food and water dish.
Protects your floors from spills and keeps your pets eating area clean.
Made in the USA
There are many things that a parent wants to get their children and often a pet is somewhere on that list. There is, however, a right time and a wrong time to get a child a pet, and Christmas is not the right time. There are complications, such as where to hide a puppy until Christmas morning as well as helping your child to understand the responsibility that goes with taking care of a cat or dog. Christmas morning is not the best time to have a conversation about responsibility with a child. To go along with that there are financial reasons to wait until after New Year’s Day to decide if a pet is right for your family.
Cost of Buying the Pet
A pure bred animal can cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars just to buy. At a shelter a pet will still cost up to $200. That’s quite an investment without factoring in all the other expenses that need to be paid when caring for a living being. Add that to the fact the fuzzy buddy will be given at the same time as other presents and could be valued less because of the divided excitement of your child. When you choose to introduce a pet to the family, let your new pet be the focus rather than the time he was given.
The Baby Factor
I’m not talking about the cuteness of a kitten or puppy that fades with growth and time. While that’s something to consider, I’m talking about the fact that your potential furry friend will want to chew, knock over, shed on, and claw up everything. Like a baby this fuzzy addition to your home will have needs, like the normal food and water needs. They will also have medical needs and training needs. Consider every aspect of cost and if you are willing to accept it before entering into what is hopefully a life long arrangement with a fuzzy friend.
Making a list of all the people you want to share your holiday joy with can be daunting. Friends, co-workers, extended family, the postal worker, the trashman, neighbors, and more! There is the buying of the gifts and the desire to personalize each one. There is the added costs that go along with cards and wrapping. Here are a couple of ideas to help keep your gift giving happy and stress free.
There are so many kits that can be done with jars. I have seen the regular cooking ones for hot chocolate, brownies, or cookies. I have also seen chili ingredients all lined up in a jar. These types of jars look really fun with their layers of ingredients in a clear shiny jar. These can be made at home or bought at a store. You can either get everyone the same one or you can get each person a different jar. For example, if you have a friend who is watching her weight get her the chili instead of the fudge brownie jar.
Other jar gifts include kits, such as a spa kit, nail kit, or first aid kit. You could even just fill them with each friend’s favorite candy. These can also be decorated with stickers or ribbons. Cover the top with fabric and stick a bow on it. They don’t need to be wrapped, but if you are feeling extra festive they fit great in small gift bags.
Digital Greeting Cards
There are a few free greeting card freebies on the internet right now. I recently saw one from Lego that you could create with your family as Lego people in various holiday settings. There is also Punchbowl.com, which has a large variety of card and envelope templates to choose from. They have cards reflecting each holiday that is celebrated this season and even party invitations. You could choose to use the free templates and even add a family picture if you wish. Save on postage and send your family greetings digitally!
Before falling to the temptation of buying another space heater or a Snuggie, you should know there are plenty of free and creative ways to build and maintain warmth. It doesn’t consist of plugging anything in or turning the heat up.
One of the easiest ways to get warm is to raise your own body temperature. The best way to do that is to exercise. Exercising has many benefits. It strengthens our hearts and can help us be happier. It helps us look better. It also raises our metabolism which raises our body heat and get our blood pumping faster through our body. When you’re feeling cold exercise is a good way to beat it. Just be sure not to allow yourself to overheat or sweat so much you are exercising wet in cold weather.
Warm Drinks and Foods
When you need to get warm and your heater just isn’t working quickly enough, try eating and drinking the warm. Inside you stomach the heat of your food radiates out getting the rest of your body warm. If you’re just looking for a snack try a cup of herbal tea or hot chocolate. For those cold mornings, hot cereals such as oatmeal or cream of wheat are ideal for putting the heat in you. Stews and hearty soups, such as split pea, clam chowder, or baked potato are perfect for lunch and dinner.
Wear layers of clothing. Where a t-shirt, followed by a sweater. If that isn’t your style, wear a turtle neck under a t-shirt. There are leggings or stockings to go under pants and socks. In extreme cold there is long underwear. Follow it up with a hoodie and a coat and your set for the cold.
Focus On Extremeties
Your head, hands, and feet are the places on your body that lose heat the fastest. Be sure to wear warm hats and mittens or gloves. Powder your socks to reduce that cold, wet sweat feeling from building up in your shoes or boots. Speaking of shoes and boots, be sure to find shoes that are made of a water proof material.
Blankets and Robes
Never under estimate the old technologies. Nice fuzzy blankets and robes are still the best for cold evenings. Blankets and robes keep our body heat inside the fabric. The more body heat the warmer you’ll be, so snuggle up with family members this holiday season. Soon you’ll be nice and toasty.
We Hate The Phone
When it comes to talking to our friends and family or reserving movie tickets we may love the phone. Our smart phones have a great deal of entertaining apps. You love your apps. When it comes to money, however, you hate the phone. You hate calling to cancel subscriptions. You hate to need to pay bills. You hate needing to call your banks and credit card companies about an issue with your balance.
What To Do
First check to see if you can pay your bills or solve your problem online. If not, treat paying bills like any other chore. Set a time, everyday, when you will make these phone calls. Make sure you set that time during business hours and keep your phone date with the bank. If you need to reward yourself with a soda afterwards, do so, but keep that self made phone appointment.
We Want The Money For Something Else
In your head you know that money is set aside to pay a certain bill. You also know that as long as that money is in your account you could pay for that digital camera you have had your eye on. Soon you have missed the due date of your bill. Sometimes you even blow off your bill, folding to the temptation of your fun financial goal.
What To Do
It’s not wise to let go of dreams, but it’s less wise to not pay bills. To remedy this life contradiction budgeting is the best action. Set aside money for your bills and pay your bill as soon as possible. This reduces the length of time temptation has to work on you. If you can, set aside money for your fun financial goals. You will need to practice delayed gratification, but the stress will be much less.
The new year is coming and along with it, a variety of resolutions on making our health, relationships, and time management better. All these desires for self improvement are good, but are they tempting you to spend money that you don’t have. Here are a few ways to beware of splurging for your New Year Resolutions.
Believe it or not there are plenty of ads shooting your way to get you to buy stuff for your new goals. If you don’t believe me, just drive past a gym. Prices have been reduced for new members this January only so hurry! Take my advice and don’t hurry. The fact is there are free places to exercise everywhere. At home you could work out with Youtube videos. You can get a walking partner and walk a free park or trail. If you need equipment then buy it, but don’t go overboard.
Fight the Need
You vow to get up at 6 am every morning, so obviously you need a new alarm clock, right? Not if you have a phone with an alarm, a computer with an alarm, or a functional old alarm clock. It’s easy to rationalize the need for new stuff to go along with your New Year resolution. If you really want to get new weights, or a new yoga ball, buy them as a reward for yourself a few months later.
Be Reasonable With Yourself
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you are planning to improve your health through exercise, pick one type of exercise. Don’t decide to take up yoga and martial arts and weight lifting all on January first. That would just cause burn out and discourage you. Instead you could choose one type of exercise that you could master slowly. If you aren’t sure which you would like to master or want to have a little variety in your exercise you could also try one for three months and then move to the next exercise for three months and so on.
How do you keep your budget in check while making goals to improve your life?
Christmas debt is becoming a tradition along with making cookies and hanging a wreath. Debt, however, doesn’t bring us closer together as a family. It doesn’t warm our hearts in the years to come. The memories made with the gifts are even marred by the fact you are still paying for them. Here’s how to avoid keeping the wrong Christmas spirit in your wallet while serving the Christmas spirit in your heart.
What Can You Afford?
Set a budget before ever considering what you plan on getting. Then work within your budget’s parameters. If a gift doesn’t fit within your budget, try finding it at a lower cost, making it, or simply doing without. Remember, giving a holiday gift shouldn’t cause you grief for the rest of the year.
Can You Get It For Less?
If your child has a favorite cartoon character and you want to get a plushy of that character don’t just get the first one you find. Check different stores and online retailers. Look at all the various sizes and designs. You can pay thirty dollars for a giant plushy or you could pay seven dollars for a smaller one. If you get the smaller one that would leave more in your budget to get your child other items.
Can You Get It Used?
Obviously there are items that you don’t want to get used. I cringe at the idea of used socks or underwear. I wouldn’t give used stuffed animals either, considering I don’t know where they have been and what microbes their stuffing has been storing. Items like video games, game consoles, and other electronics, however, are quite acceptable to get used. I use reviews of sites to tell me if I can trust the resale quality of the store I’m purchasing from.
Can You Make It?
Getting my child a new set of crayons is something that I would be happy to do, but I make his coloring books myself. I go online and print out coloring and activity sheets from pbs.org or homeschooling sites. I use a three hole punch on them, stick them in a binder, and I now have a refillable coloring book. If there are items that can be made instead of bought, reduce your holiday spending by making little things such as new clay, finger paint, or sidewalk chalk.