It’s no secret that the holidays can be a stressful time, from endless commitments, to trying to fit everyone in, to holiday entertaining, shopping- the list goes on! Lifestyle and parenting expert Colleen Burns joined me recently to discuss simple ways you can destress this holiday season, save money, time and possibly travel?!
Candace Rose: Every year we look forward to the holidays, but at times they can be very stressful. Why is this, and what can we do to change it?
Colleen Burns: “Well, I think we do it to ourselves. We add so much to our to do list that we didn’t have before, and then on top of that we have this expectation we’re going to spend more quality time with our loved ones. There’s just not enough time in the day, so something has to give, and I think it’s important to compartmentalize what you are doing this time of the year. The biggest consumers of time we’ll say are the shopping and the meal prep. So if you can save time in those areas and money, those can really reduce your stress.
When it comes to meal prep, I really love those catered meals in the grocery store, they’re really convenient, but they’re so expensive. But you can do this yourself, and it doesn’t have to take as much time- at least not all at once. You can budget some time either this day or the next- make these side dishes, make these items, throw them in the freezer or the refrigerator so the day of you have a lot less time that you’re spending on prep. And you haven’t spent any more money, you can even in fact look for deals on those food items in the days ahead of time.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any advice on finding deals?
Colleen Burns: “Another way to find a deal, because we do spend so much money this time of year on gifts, shopping more often at the grocery store, traveling more often, going out to eat more often. Look for a way to make your money work harder for you, and that would be those rewards programs.
Fuel Rewards program is a brand new one. They have an online mall called FuelRewards.com which has partnered with stores and restaurants and all kinds of places where you can visit, make those purchases that you plan to make anyway. But this way you’re earning rewards that can be applied toward fuel purchases at Shell stations. So when you go traveling over the holidays and into next year, you can use those rewards at the pump and pay far less than someone who didn’t use this rewards program. So it’s a great way to get something back on the purchases that you planned to make anyway on the Online Mall at the FuelRewards.com, and also at participating restaurants and grocery stores.”
Candace Rose: And speaking of online, do you have any advice for those who tend to go overboard when shopping online?
Colleen Burns: “You can go overboard online, but I think it’s easy to stick to a budget online, too because you search for a very specific item online at a store, you can put it into your virtual shopping cart, and if it adds up when you’ve got all those items in there to more money than what you were wanting to spend, you can always edit. And you can edit a lot more easily and a lot less embarrassingly than if you were at the actual cashier and you’ve decided you have too many things in your cart, and you don’t want to buy all of them. You can get sucked into that whole buying because it’s a deal mentality when everybody else is doing that at a shopping mall, you can end up with things you don’t want to buy.”
Candace Rose: Are the holidays a good time of the year just to get away?
Colleen Burns: “Oh yes. If your family commitments will allow it, yes. It’s a wonderful way to reduce stress because you don’t have to cook, you don’t have to clean and it doesn’t have to cost more money. You book ahead of time- if you look for those online travel deals at FuelRewards.com, they have a lot of online travel partners so you can search for the best deals, you can use rewards for traveling in your car. But also, you can tell your children we’re not going to buy you as many gifts this year because instead we’re going to have this fabulous vacation. We’re going to go drive somewhere; fly somewhere, and I think your kids will be more than willing to make that bargain. But it’s a great way to sort of cleanse your palate from all those family gatherings, which are wonderful, but can be stressful. This way someone else is doing all the work and you’re just enjoying time with those people you want to enjoy time with.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Colleen Burns: “You can get more information on all those purchases you plan to make anyway, and are going to save you at the pump at FuelRewards.com. You can also get more information on these tips and others at my website, TheMomOnTheRun.tv.”