If you’re following a holiday cleaning plan, this next tip might be just the thing you need:

yard sale

Declutter and make some extra cash for Christmas.

Have a yard/garage sale.

 

As you go through the rooms in your house cleaning and preparing them for Christmas visitors (and yourself). Make sure you have a box or two labeled Yard Sale and put in items you no longer want or need. Schedule a weekend and sell, sell, sell. All the money you make goes directly into your Christmas fund.

YAY – Clean and clutter-free house and money for Christmas!!

Happy Saving!!!!

 
 

Xmas Notebook

Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans. . .
That’s true with me – things have not gone quite as planned. We’ve had a few very hot days and a few very humid days, and without air conditioning, it makes it difficult to get the cleaning done. Thus, I have to be a little flexible and try not to get lazy. It’s a good thing I’ve included a catch-up week in my Holiday Organising Plan, so I don’t have to fret when I’m not able to get some things finished.

Here’s an update of what’s happened over the past 2 weeks:

Week 1: August 27 – Preparation

  • Notebook Review.
      I did this earlier – too excited! And rearranged how I put it together. See this post.
  • Lists.
      Still working on these. Really just need to update and tweak – nothing much changed from last year. Must find time. lol
  • Cleaning – Children’s room.
      Children’s room is almost completed. Closet, big dresser, bookshelf, windows, stuffed animal collection, and bins (hair ties, make-up, notebooks) done.

      Still need to clean behind and underneath bunk beds, tub of clothes to be sorted, and their smaller dresser, plus a full and thorough vacuum.

      My kids have a lot of items for donation: 1 and a half bags of clothing, 1 bag of stuffed animals, and 2 boxes of toys. YAY!

Week 2: September 3 – Money Week

  • Budget Review.
      Fairly quick and easy, not much changed from last year. :-)
  • Storage Areas.
      Didn’t get as much done as I wanted here either. :-( Hubby had the week, minus Friday, off. So we did little things around the house. Removed thistles by the front steps, installed new light fixtures in Kitchen and stairway, and went shopping (for new light fixtures and groceries – nothing super fun).

This week’s challenge – Week 3: September 10 – Party Planning

Every year we have (what I like to call) a Santa Claus Parade After Party. After watching the parade, we all come back to my house and eat. We also host a Kids’ Party for my children’s school friends. Need to choose a theme, debating between a couple right now. It really depends on what’s available crafting wise. Now’s the time to start making lists, buying food, craft supplies, planning entertainment, etc..

Cleaning this week, is all about appearances, the Front Yard and Foyer. The first thing a person sees leaves an impression about the whole house. If the foyer is messy, it doesn’t matter how neat and tidy your living room is, the first impression is messy. Hoping I can maintain the neat & tidy. Wish me luck! :-)

 
 

It’s time to take a lesson from our childhood and use that amazing savings tool –
a PIGGY BANK.

Put all your loose change throughout the year in your piggy bank (jar, tin, any container will work) then just before it’s time to Christmas shop, roll it up, take it to the bank, and shop. (This works especially well in countries where they have $1 and $2 coins.)

Quick & easy savings. Happy Saving!

 
 

Use GIFT CARDS as a savings account, it’s quick and convenient – only downside there is no interest.

When you’re at a store, grab a gift card, reloadable ones are great because you can add to them whenever. Perhaps you just put $10 on it, then the next time you go you add another $10. If you can’t get a reloadable one perhaps a $10 or $25 card every time. (You’ll have a stack of cards, but at least you won’t have to worry).

Department store cards are good because you get a variety items there (ie gifts, party supplies, decorations). Grocery store cards are good too since you always need to buy food for the holidays.

Keep the gift card(s) in a safe place (and remember where ;-)) until it’s time for Christmas shopping. Then you don’t have to worry if you have money for shopping because you saved over the year.

Happy Saving!

 
 

Xmas NotebookToday the Holiday Grand Plan starts, feel free to share you thoughts and comments about it, either here (in this blog) or at the CAY Community.

Since my holiday plan uses a bit of something from the other Christmas plans (here) with a bit of me thrown in, I figured I would come up with my own name and acronym too – Holiday Organising & Planning or HOP. So I guess I’ll just HOP to it (groan) and briefly tell you my weekly schedules.

Each week, from now until the beginning of December, I’ll focus on a different room and holiday aspect (very similar to the plans). Because I live in a cooler climate and celebrate Thanksgiving in October, I’ve needed to tweak a few of them to better suit my needs.

All my weeks start on a Monday (giving me the whole weekend to finish a week if I get behind). Here’s the first 3 weeks to start (don’t want to make the post too long):

Week 1: August 27 – Preparation
This is the week I review what’s in my notebook (sometimes I get excited and do this earlier) and make lists (cards, gifts, etc). My cleaning focus is my children’s rooms. (I want them to have clean rooms before school starts.)

Week 2: September 3 – Money Week
It’s time to start reviewing what we’ve saved (specifically earmarked for Christmas) and what we still need to save. So it’s Budget Review time. Cleaning focus is on the Storage Areas (including shed and garage).

Week 3: September 10 – Party Planning
Every year we have (what I like to call) a Santa Claus Parade After Party. After watching the parade, we all come back to my house and eat. So I need to start making lists, buying food, etc.. Cleaning is all about appearances, the Front Yard and Foyer.

 
 

Xmas Notebook

Christmas is only 4 months away!! Which makes now a good time to put together a Christmas Notebook. It will help you prepare for the holidays and make sure you can enjoy the season.

There are many types of notebooks out there under various names (see Christmas Planning blog post, for a list of the plans we like.

Many of the plans suggest that you organise them in a notebook format which makes them much easier to follow and do. If you prefer using technology, you could adapt these to fit (ie. spreadsheets, word processors, online calendars, etc.). I like using a physical notebook but everyone is different, so use what you are most comfortable with.

This may seem a bit overwhelming, but you don’t have to do all of the plans or even completely follow them. I tend to pick and choose what I like out of each of them and go from there. Every year I experiment to see what works for me.

Here’s how I have my notebook organized (make yours suit you):

I use a big 3 ring binder (much like the one in the graphic) so I can move pages around and add pages when needed. Each week, I have a different cleaning focus and holiday focus. My notebook is now (changes depending on what has worked for me and what hasn’t) divided thusly: calendar, lists, and room pages.

  • Calendar – I put a monthly calendar at the front of my binder so every time I open it can see what’s happening and I briefly note events, birthdays, etc. on it. It’s a great reminder tool. (This year I put a separate calendar on the fridge, so the whole family can see it and use it.) Behind the monthly calendar is the weekly calendar, with enough room in each day section so I can list in more detail what is happening and what needs to get done.
  • Lists – these include weekly cleaning, room-by-room major work to do, gifts, cards, grocery, Media (music, videos, books), and a general things to do.
  • Room Pages – in this section I have a separate page for each room and record how I decorate it (and want to decorate it), what major work/repairs need to happen in the room, and general cleaning.

As always, I’m going to see how far I can get following and adapting the various plans. Every year, I tweak it a bit to fit my situation.

Do you have a Christmas Notebook? Feel free to share any suggestions, questions, or ideas. :-)

 
 

piggy bank
One way to start saving for the holidays is to open a SPECIAL BANK ACCOUNT specifically for Christmas. You could even have a portion of your pay directly deposited into the account, so you don’t spend what you don’t see. ;-) Here’s a few options I found.

  • Christmas Club – If your bank has them and they suit your needs you can open a Christmas Club account. Be sure to check about interest rates and an extra fees which they might add – it’s not a savings account if you’re not saving. ;-)
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts (Only in Canada – pity) – You must be 18 or over to open a TFSA. All income earned and withdrawals from a TFSA are generally tax-free. Plus, having a TFSA does not impact federal benefits and credits. It’s a great way to save for short and long-term goals.
  • Savings Account – if the above options are not available to you, perhaps a simple savings account would do the trick. Shop around and see which financial institution offers the highest interest rate. Make sure the fees are reasonable, since you’ll be mainly making deposits – withdrawals will only happen near Christmas.

Check with your financial institution to see what they offer and what is right for you. Happy Saving!

 

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