Tips to save time and money during the holiday season

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 22, 2012

Time flies, and between the hectic activities of the holiday season, work, school, household chores and playtime with your family (if you can fit it in), the only minutes you have left in the day are reserved for sleep and recharging your batteries.

While it’s impossible to slow down time, you can find ways to consolidate some activities or eliminate tasks you’d rather not be doing anyway, presenting you with valuable me-time for rest and relaxation. Here’s how:

* Make lists – Pre-planning your shopping, whether your holiday gift shopping or grocery shopping, can save you huge amounts of time standing in the stores or searching online, looking for ideas and items. Pre-think your lists with other family members so you can bounce ideas of each other and be certain that your lists are complete. Have your list handy when you’re shopping, and stick to it. Allowing yourself to be distracted (which is very easy during the holiday season) uses up precious time that could be spent doing something else.

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* Do your shopping online – No matter if you’re searching for holiday gifts or traditional household needs, online stores carry the same merchandise – if not more – than the physical stores. Online shopping allows you to accomplish your shopping from your home, your desk at work on your lunch break, or even from the bus or train during your commute. Eliminating the time spent on driving all the stores on your list can garner you plenty of free time.

A bonus to shopping over the Internet is that you can save money online with coupon codes. is a great place to start searching for such coupons for stores such as Overstock, Vistaprint, Amazon, Target, Sears and many more. Started as a blog by Anna Teoli, a busy mom trying to save money, receives promo and discount codes from moms all across the country. Search the site for those holiday gift items on your list – or for the household supplies you need – and watch how quickly the savings can add up.

* Consolidate your trips – Time behind the wheel of the car is time ticking away, so when you do have to drive somewhere, make it count. On your way to drop a child off at a music lesson after school? Stop by the local convenience store en route to fill up on gas, pick up some last-minute food items for dinner or purchase some over-the-counter medication to help family members more comfortably weather the cold everyone has. Also, make only one grocery shopping list a week, so you don’t waste time running to and from the store when you need an item.

* Store gift wrap – If the online store or physical store offers free gift wrapping, take advantage of this service, because it will save you time and money later during the holiday season. When online shopping, have the wrapped gifts conveniently delivered directly to your home, unless you don’t have plans to see the recipient during the holidays. In that case, have the gifts delivered to the recipients, and make certain to have the online store include a personal note from you. This will save you from having to make a trip to the post office and wait in the long, holiday season lines.

With all the time – and money – you can save using these tips, you might have enough to indulge in a bubble bath, read the latest mystery novel or play with your children before tucking them into bed at night. Just be certain to enjoy your newly found free time.