7 Timesaving Tips for the Holidays
Between dinner parties, family get-togethers, gift buying and winter recitals, time is at a premium during the holiday season. The good news is that you can take some timesaving measures to make your holidays as stress-free as possible.
1. Carve out a budget ahead of time. Holiday expenses go beyond the cost of gifts. Factor in food, travel, decorating and other holiday-related expenses to get a more realistic figure.
2. Be an informed shopper. The free Google Shopper app for iPhone and Android includes a barcode scanner, detailed product information and offers from local businesses.
3. Avoid mall crowds by shopping online. Use a price comparison site like pricegrabber.com to research the best deals. Look for specials like free shipping, and make sure you allow enough time for delivery — online shopping isn’t ideal for last-minute gift buying.
4. Grocery shop strategically. Avoid weekend jaunts to the store. Instead, shop on Monday or Tuesday, when it’s less crowded. If possible, shop alone so you can get what you need and get out. Never shop without a list. Grocery stores are designed for distractions, and this is especially apparent during the holidays.
5. Factor in extra time for travel. If you’re bringing gifts to your destination, consider mailing them ahead of time to avoid extra luggage. This is especially important if you’re flying, as many airlines now charge a fee for check-in luggage and discourage bringing wrapped gifts on board.
6. Forget about cooking from scratch. Decide what occasions require homemade dishes, then give yourself permission to bring store-bought cupcakes to the neighborhood get-together.
7. Do less. That’s right — cut back on your commitments. Examine your priorities before the holiday season kicks off and you’ll probably find that “attend every function” and “keep the guest bathroom spotless” are not on the list. We may not be able to create more time, but we can limit ourselves to the activities that make us most fulfilled during the holidays.
American Home Shield is providing the information for general guidance only. Due to the general nature of the property maintenance and improvement advice in this material, neither American Home Shield Corporation, nor its licensed subsidiaries assumes any responsibility for any loss or damage which may be suffered by the use of this information.
10 Fireplace Safety Tips
If your idea of a perfect winter night involves relaxing by a warm fire, you’re in good company. Whether a fireplace is your primary way to stay warm or a supplement to your main heating system, enjoy the warmth the right way by taking the following safety measures.
30 Minutes to a Clean Fridge
There are plenty of reasons to clean a fridge (unidentifiable leftovers, funky odors) and one big excuse not to — namely, lack of time. But you don’t need to set aside several hours to complete a basic cleanout and scrub down. Get it done in 30 minutes when you follow this guide.
Ask the Experts
The guest bedroom in our new house is in desperate need of a paint touch-up, but I have no record of the paint that was used. Is there any hope for us, or do we have to repaint completely?
- Cindy, Augusta, Ga.