Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas: Options to make life easier ~ because, it doesn't need to be that hard!

Christmas: 

Options to make your life easier ~ because, it doesn't need to be that hard!

CHRISTMAS

Oh my word...is that the most stress-filled time of the year or what? And where does most of that stress come from Money - or rather the lack of money! 
Everything costs: presents, food and that's just for your family - what about the rest...??? 
Aunty Joan or Uncle Fred who are 'popping over' for a visit. And that guest - you know the one: 
The new BF/GF someone forgot to mention they had, or the new best friend your kids invite over for the day, and what about the lonely work colleague your husband casually invites over two weeks prior. You just know that at least ONE of these people will show up on the day. 
It's a lot to cope with and more often that not it falls upon YOUR shoulders to make it work! 

CHRISTMAS MADE EASIER ~ FOOD WISE


  • Start Early: I started in October and every time I went grocery shopping I purchased $5.00 worth of grocery items to be set aside into a box for Christmas. Obviously they have to be non perishables, but it is amazing how many items you can collect if you do this. Not only food items, but Christmas themed items to help create a special day: Napkins, Christmas Crackers, candles - these make the Christmas table really festive. Spreading the cost over 2 months at $5 a week it isn't so stressful. *** Tip: Also get a couple of boxes of Chocolate Almonds - they make a great emergency gift if you are caught short ....***

  • Christmas Clubs: There are a lot out there and while the concept is great, be careful that you get value for the money you put aside in them. It pays to shop around.
  • I use Hampsta - they are a little different than most in a really great way that works for me. Upon joining you receive a Hampsta card which is much like a standard Eftpos card. I put a set amount in each week and you would be amazed how that mounts up.
  • Your savings will automatically become available on the 1st of December every year until 10th January the following year. Simply select the items you wish to purchase while in store and swipe your Hampsta card - you don't need a PIN.  
  • You can use the card at a wide variety of stores and being able to use it after Christmas enables you to take advantage of the inevitable after-Christmas sales.  https://www.hampsta.co.nz/  
  • Check them out! Best of all - any unused money stays in your Hampsta account and goes towards the following year. Absolutely Brilliant!!  
    • Supermarket Christmas Clubs: These are useful too, especially for all those perishable items that can only be purchased near to Christmas day. 
    • They are also serve as a super back up plan for January grocery shopping - when money has gone on this, that, and the other, and people have scoffed that mountain of food you were sure was going to last! 
    • Don't even talk about where the 20 rolls of loo paper have disappeared too and why every child's toy nowadays doesn't come complete with batteries..!!!  

    • Christmas Presents: This is the real Christmas spirit killer - it's great to give, you want to gift things, but when money is tight it is sooo hard to know how you are going to manage. Usually you make sure the kids are sorted, then family members, and, if you can stretch the budget, friends get a look in. 
    • Mmmm...Have I forgotten anyone..? Hang on, what about... the unexpected person/s - you know someone is just bound to turn up or you miscount and forget a relative - that is where a few $2 shop gift bags and boxes of chocolate almonds or Favourites come in handy. Simply attach a gift card and you have that last minute gift sorted - no stress, no drama.  
    • Hey YOU! Yes, Christmas Organiser Extroardinaire =YOU deserve a gift too. 
    • If you really want something in particular, put a little aside each week and buy it yourself. Have the gift come from Santa...why not? Or better still, drop some hints. Often people, especially partners, would rather know what you want. They can get together with family members to spread the cost, then gift you one item you really want.
    • Christmas Cards - I use my Hampsta card for buying gifts too. Supermarkets are great sources of gifts too. You can also get vouchers from the supermarket - a great gift idea.
    • GROCERY BASKETS: Where money is tight these work so well. Getting a box of groceries can be a godsend for families at Christmas time! Items can be gathered a few at a time months ahead, then use some wrapping paper to decorate a cardboard box. Get the kids involved they may enjoy helping to decorate the box for someone special. There is an amazing 'feel-good' feeling, a real buzz, when you see the mixed emotions of relief and delight on parents and kids faces alike as they explore the contents of the box. I think this gift above all embodies the true spirit of Christmas, sharing, and kindness.  

    **GIFTS THAT COST NO MONEY, BUT MEAN A LOT...**

    • The Gift of Your TimeThis is be the best FREE gift you can ever give. Your Time can mean different things to people and be gifted in a variety of ways. With this gift - There is only one 'rule'  YOU MUST HONOUR WHAT YOU PROMISE!   
    • In other words: don't promise what you can't deliver... 
    • Write your promissory gift of time on a Christmas card and sign it. View it as a binding contract - and see it through. Here are some ideas....

    The Christmas Meal

    DON'T BE A SLAVE IN THE KITCHEN ON CHRISTMAS DAY...
    Got a Slow Cooker? Then Slow cook that ham - the NIGHT BEFORE !!
    Turn it off in the morning and it will be beautifully cooked and stay warm enough for the mid day feast. Roasted veges can be partially cooked in the microwave then simple browned in the oven to finish off.  Job done in minutes - not hours! 
    So.... Relax, Enjoy Christmas Day with your Family - not away from them cooking!