Tips to survive the hectic holiday season
It may be fall, but the holiday season is right around the corner. That means gift-giving, entertaining and – if you are like most Americans – stress. Here are a few easy ways to get prepared starting today.
Make a budget.
Finances are the main cause of holiday stress, according to a recent survey by market research firms KW Strategems and Decipher. The last thing you want is a credit card hangover in January. So if you haven’t set a budget for gifts, travel, charitable donations and entertainment, now is the time. And don’t forget to factor in all of your normal expenses.
Check out Modern Woodmen's handy budgeting worksheet as a place to begin.
Create a master gift list.
Once you have a budget, start a list of ideas for friends and family members you buy gifts for. This allows you to pick up gifts as you see them, rather than rushing to find something at the eleventh hour.
Star or circle the three most expensive items on the list and allow extra time to search for the best deals. This is where you’ll get the most bang for your buck!Give wisely and simply.
As a Modern Woodmen Bank customer, you can delight the hard-to-buy-for people on your list with a prepaid Modern Woodmen Bank Visa® Gift Card. It's like a gift certificate that can be used virtually anywhere. And unlike most gift cards, there is no additional fee to purchase.Learn more and purchase a Modern Woodmen Bank Visa® Gift Card from ModernWoodmenBank.com.
Shop (safely) online
Online shopping is a great way to avoid the crowds at the mall. Order gifts now to allow plenty of time for them to arrive and be wrapped.
But when buying online, be safe. Read reviews and stick to a reputable websites. And make sure you’re using a secure connection when sharing personal information. To verify, look for a closed padlock at the bottom of the web page or a web address that read “https://” rather than “http://”. This means it’s secure.Find more tips to protect yourself online at USA.gov.Begin baking.
Parties and potlucks are on the horizon - get prepared now with cookies, bars and breads that can be made ahead and frozen. These items will keep in the freezer if they are wrapped tightly and they make the perfect hostess gift or last minute dessert.Peruse some great recipes for holiday baking on Modern Woodmen’s Gatherings.info website.Add your favorites to your online recipe box and even create a shopping list, organized by area of the grocery store.Add giving to your gathering.
There are many ways to add a charitable element to your holiday get-together. Here are a few ideas:
● Take decorations and table centerpieces to a local nursing home for residents to enjoy following a party.
● Write thank-you cards to send to military men and women serving overseas.
● Make extra treats to deliver to policy officers and firefighters for the holidays.Check out other ways to give back at Gatherings.info.
Use caution when donating.
Many of us like to give back to charitable causes during the holiday season., But before donating to a charity you are unfamiliar with, do your research. Fake charities can be very believable.
Websites like CharityNavigator.org can help you find worthwhile organizations and evaluate how effectively various charities use their funds.