As soon as I turn the calendar to November, my anxiety begins. I am thinking about all the things that I need to get accomplished in the next 55 days. Between now and Christmas, my plate is so full and my budget is stretched to the max.
This season is going to be different. I am going to be organized and more in control of my spending and my savings.
- Read on to learn a few tips for putting the “turkey on the table” while leaving “the bacon in your wallet.”
- Also learn ways to organize your holiday shopping so that you spend less and save more. This is the time to prepare for the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
- Join me in my search for effective organization.
- Please share your tips in the comment section. I am sure I could learn a lot from each of you.
If you are in charge of the Thanksgiving feast, then it is very important to start with a menu.
- I write a Thanksgiving menu and keep it in an inexpensive school binder.
- I place the menu, the grocery list, and the recipes all in the binder in page protectors.
- I even have a page that lists what other family members brought to the occasion.
- I use this book each year as a reference point for preparing the meal.
- Having the grocery list written in the order of my coupon file helps me start saving coupons from my local newspaper months before the event. Between the coupons and the local ads, my savings really add up. It takes $20 to $30 off each year’s bill.
I know it may sound corny, but coupons will save you money. However, organizing those tiny, clipped pieces of paper can be a nightmare. I found a coupon organizer at the dollar store. I covered it with Thanksgiving looking patterned paper and embellishments. The bright colors of the organizer will help me find it buried in the abyss of my purse.
The coupon holder was already labeled for me. The front compartment says, “Today’s Shopping.” I found this to be a clever idea for pulling the coupons to the front to match your grocery list. I often get to the grocery store carrying my coupons for that trip only and then realize I am out of something else and my coupon is at home. This coupon organizer always has you prepared for the current grocery trip, but it also always contains the rest of your coupons just in case they’re needed.
Some of the other categories in the coupon holder are:
• Baking Products
• Beverages and Snacks
• Canned Goods
• Dairy Products
• Frozen Foods
• Paper Goods
It your coupon holder isn’t alphabetized, I strongly recommend that you alphabetize it. It will make finding and filing your coupons a breeze. Another tip I mentioned above is to create a shopping list that matches your coupon holder’s sequence. It will not only save you time in the store but will also save you nice, cold cash.
If you don’t want to spend the dough on buying a coupon organizer, make your own. Simply glue envelopes together and bind them with a scrap of patterned paper. Make an envelope for each category.
Hosting Thanksgiving dinner can be costly, but by creating menus, shopping lists, and asking guests to bring a little something, you will save tons in the long run.
Not only am I preparing for a Thanksgiving feast, I also am preparing for “Black Friday.” I need to save as much as I can this season. Organization is the key.
I found this spiral notebook for 50 cents in the clearance section of a discount store. I was looking for a notebook that was small enough to fit inside my purse. I covered it with patterned paper. I even cut a hole in the cover to make a window so the double-sided patterned paper would show through the hole. I added a few embellishments but kept it simple because it needed to fit inside my purse.
This notebook will get me ready for the holiday season.
I divided the note book into four categories….Gifts, Wishes, Sizes, and Other.
The Gift Section is where I list everyone I need to buy for this season. I write what I bought for them and how much I spent. It is important to assign a dollar amount so you are aware of your predetermined budget. I jot down ideas I have for each person and highlight them in yellow when their gifts have been purchased. My husband and I sit down at dinner to determine our budget for each person, and we brainstorm gift ideas. Thus, when the Sunday ads come out, I know what I am looking for and not over-paying.
The Wishes Section is for my children’s wishes. I compose a nice list that I can share with family members. I can also record decorating items I would like to purchase and wait for the sales.
The Size Section is crucial for me to be able to buy for my husband, nieces, and nephews. I can’t remember, and those sizes seem to change each year. The older the kids get, the more interested they are in clothes, so the correct size is paramount.
The Other Section is where I record my “to-do” list. Everything from Christmas card addressing to cookies to bake goes in this hodgepodge area. I use it as a reference book and save it for the next year so I can see what I spent and what I bought.
I also created a pocket by wrapping my patterned paper around my book and gluing it only on three sides. This pocket is for all those discount cards sent in the mail and found in magazines. I have everything from 40% off at Justice to $10 Kohl’s Cash in it.
This little book makes Christmas shopping a little easier. It definitely keeps me focused on what I need to get. I put less impulse buys in my cart, and I don’t overbuy for anyone because I know what I have for each person.
If you’re worried about this little book getting torn up or “discovered” in your purse, I must say mine has never been found. The trick is to use a make-up bag in which to keep your pencil, highlighter, and notebook. It keeps the tools together without spoiling the surprises of the season.
Here’s to great organization and to a successful shopping season.
~Kara (Studio Pink)