Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

TIPS FOR A STRESS-FREE HOLIDAY SEASON

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, it’s time to focus on the biggest holiday of the year…Christmas!

Just knowing that we are officially in the Christmas season brings on feelings of stress. We’re cooking and baking and partying and shopping and wrapping and traveling all within a month’s time.

Of course, we’re stressed! ūüėČ

How to Have a Stress-Free Holiday

How to Have a Stress-Free Holiday

Well, here are a few tips for a stress-free holiday season:

  1. If you plan on doing a lot of cooking and baking this season, take some time to create a shopping list of all the items you’ll need. Check your pantry and cabinets first to make sure you don’t purchase duplicates. Purchasing everything at once will help eliminate multiple trips to the store and dealing with massive crowds.
  2. While we’re making lists, create one for all of the gifts you plan to give this year. Try to include everyone-relatives, teachers, bus drivers, gift exchanges, newspaper and mail carriers. Assign¬†an amount to each¬†gift and that will give you your shopping budget. I use¬†the app¬†Christmas Gift List¬†(free for Android) to keep track of the gifts I have purchased and still need to purchase. There is also a free similar app on iTunes called¬†Gift List.
  3. Speaking of shopping…if you’d like to avoid the crowds, try shopping later in the evening or early in the morning. The crowds will be much lighter during those times.
  4. If you really don’t want to shop at the stores, purchase all of your gifts online. I use Ebates when shopping online because I earn cash back with every purchase. During the holidays you can earn up to 10% cash back and some stores offer even more! Click here to sign up and receive $10.
  5. During the holiday season, be very picky about the activities you participate in. Saying yes to everything that comes along will surely overwhelm you. Decide in advance which activities you will attend and devote the “empty” days/evenings to family activities (baking, watching holiday movies, wrapping gifts, etc) When invitations come in on those days, you can say you have plans and not feel guilty.
  6. Play holiday music as much as you can stand it! ūüôā¬†Listening to holiday music is guaranteed to lift your spirits. Pandora is constantly playing in our home.
  7. Take some time to do something just for you. Take some time off of work, have someone watch the kids, and do something that makes you calm and happy.
  8. Last but not least…Relax and enjoy your holiday with family and friends.

Hopefully, reading this post is getting you into the Christmas spirit. The good thing is that now you have the tools to make it a stress-free holiday season! ūüôā

How do you keep your stress level in control during the holidays?

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Organize Your Entire Life with a Free Calendar App

I know the title of this post may seem a little out there, but stay with me on this. I am going to show you how you can organize your entire life with a free calendar app by Cozi.

Free Calendar App by Cozi

Free Calendar App by Cozi

*This post contains affiliate links. Read more about my disclosure policy here.

My family and I have been using this free calendar app by Cozi for 10 years. I have tried other apps in the past but always come back to this one. This is also the ONLY app I recommend to my organizing clients and they LOVE it! No other free calendar app has the number of features that Cozi has.

When using the Cozi app you are able to:

  • Coordinate EVERYONE’S schedules and activities in one place!¬†Now everyone can be on the same page. Each member of your family can access the calendar on their own device. They will then be able to view the entire family’s schedule or just their own schedule. Anytime changes are made to the calendar a notification can be sent to let everyone know! This feature has helped my family on numerous occasions when¬†there were¬†last minute appointment changes.
  • Create and track grocery lists!¬†Now you don’t have to keep separate lists or use sticky notes to keep track of your needed grocery items. You’ll have your¬†list at your fingertips while shopping at the store. Also, anyone signed in to your account can view the list and pick up items from the store.¬† The list feature also works for regular shopping lists, gift lists, school supply lists, and more! This feature is priceless for me and my family during grocery and holiday shopping!
  • Create and manage To-Do or chore lists!¬†Actually, you can create as many task¬†lists as you want! You can create a to-do list for someone else or a chore list for your kids. The great thing about this feature is that the task can be checked off in the app when completed so you can see what has and hasn’t been done. If your kids are too young to access the app themselves, print it out and hang it in a spot where they can see it and check off the items when they are completed. I usually offer rewards for completing the chore list by a certain day or time so I don’t have to constantly check or nag about getting things done.
  • Plan dinner meals!¬†¬†This is another one of my favorite¬†features of the Cozi app.¬†You have the ability to add your favorite recipes and even save them from a website to the app. Once the recipe is loaded into the app, you can add the ingredients to your grocery list!¬† Then, drag and drop the recipes onto the calendar so everyone will know what’s for dinner each night.¬† Another thing I love is that when you are cooking, the screen stays lit so you don’t have to keep touching it to follow the recipe. This helps to keep your device’s screen clean. LOVE THIS!! ūüôā
  • Integrate Cozi with other calendars!¬†Currently, Cozi can be integrated with Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, and Outlook. The great thing about this feature is that you can share calendar appointments into Cozi from other calendars or you can add Cozi’s appointments to other calendars. This works well when you subscribe to other calendars for school, sports, or work. Now you don’t have to check multiple calendars…everything is in one place!
  • Pay Nothing…IT’S FREE!!¬†In case you missed it earlier, Cozi is a free calendar app. There is a paid version available, but all of the features I’ve mentioned here are totally free!

If being free isn’t enough reason to try Cozi, how about the fact that Cozi currently has 20 MILLION users, a 4.5-star rating with iTunes and Google Play, and is a 3-time Mom’s Choice Award Winner?

If you’re ready to give Cozi a try, click here to download it today. I’m sure you’ll love it! Let me know in the comments what your favorite feature is or will be. ūüôā

Also, be sure to follow SimpLeigh Organized to receive more organizing tips. As a bonus, you’ll receive a free printable when you sign up!

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5 Money-Saving Mobile Apps You Must Have

One question I hear¬†often is “What is the best way to save money?” Although I use multiple strategies and techniques to save, I¬†LOVE to use mobile apps. I’m going to share with you 5 money-saving mobile apps you must have!

5 Money-Saving Mobile Apps

5 Money-Saving Mobile Apps

These apps¬†allow me to save money without clipping or reading sales circulars. I also don’t have to worry about forgetting my coupons at home because my phone is always with me! ūüôā

In a previous post, I mentioned apps that I use to save money and here I’ll mention some new ones that I’ve discovered since then.

  1. KidsMealDeals lets you know which restaurants near you offer free or reduced-priced meals for kids. (Free for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry)
  2. RetailMeNot will find coupons for you while you’re out shopping. Just pull up the coupon and let the cashier scan it to receive your savings. If you turn on your Notification, it will¬†let you know if you are near your favorite stores and if they have coupons available. (Free for Android and iPhone)
  3. Favado lets you select stores you shop at and it will search its database and let you know what’s on sale at that store. If a coupon is available for that item, it will tell you where to find it. This app is great for planning out your grocery shopping trip and eliminates the need to check store circulars. You can even select the type of items you want it to search. (Free for Android and iPhone)
  4. GasBuddy will let you know the cheapest place to fill up your tank. (Free for Android, iPhone, and Blackberry)
  5. Grocery iQ allows you to scan barcodes to create a grocery list and the app will show you if there’s a coupon to either print or load onto your store card. (Free for Android and iPhone)

So now you know a few of my favorite apps that I use to save money. Let me know if you are using similar apps or if you are using one that I did not mention.

Be sure to follow SimpLeigh Organized to receive more money-saving tips. You’ll be able to download a FREE¬†printable when you sign up!

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