3 Great Reasons To Join A Car Subscription Plan

When you think of getting your own car, there are many things to consider before making the final decision. Some of these include whether to buy a new or old car, whether to lease or purchase, as well as the model, the color and size. All these choices matter. However, if you are a person who loves varieties, there is just one more consideration for you, one that allows you to decide on many different cars: a car subscription plan.

There are numerous benefits to a car subscription plan, but the major one is that you will have an option to drive different cars based on your needs, and only be required to pay a monthly fee to enjoy the services. The other good thing is that you are allowed to swap, renew or cancel each month depending on whether you want a new ride or not. Below is an elaboration on why you might consider joining a car subscription plan.

Availability And Preference

When did you last get a chance to choose the kind of car you wanted to drive at any given time? If you have never subscribed to any car subscription service, then your answer is probably: never! This is exactly what a car subscription plan is giving you. With this plan, you will have access to different types of carsdepending on what you want to use it for at any given time. You only need to request for the car through the service’s app, and it will be delivered to your preferred location. Want a Lexus one month and a pickup truck the next? You can drive according to your whims and preferences on a subscription plan.

Convenience

If you own a car, there are certain things you have to worry about, like maintenance and insurance premium payments, among other things. Convenience is one of the major benefits of a car subscription plan because you won’t have to worry about registration fees, tax, and insurance payments or maintenance – the monthly subscription price you pay is covering all these costs. Also, you have access to roadside assistance, an added bonus you won’t find when driving your own car.

Flexibility

If you already have a car subscription plan, or you want to have one but are afraid of becoming a slave to the plan, then here is the good news for you. Once you subscribe to the plan, you have a right to swap, renew or cancel each month. Therefore, unlike other car dealership services such as leasing, whereby you must retain the car until the agreed time lapses, a car subscription service allows you to cancel or reinstate your subscription anytime.

The benefits of a car subscription plan are as numerous as they are revolutionary, as this new kind of dealership plan continues to take hold in North America. Everything about car subscription services seems pretty awesome, and it’s only a matter of time before this new concept takes off.

Bundling Up: A Brief Guide to Thermal Clothing

Whether you’re an outdoor adventurer, or you just suffer a short commute to work in the morning, you’ll have the same goal as you step out the door during winter: stay as warm as possible. Layering your clothes to create an effective fortification against the biting cold allows you to enjoy the winter months much more, and, according to this Harvard Medical School article, can help you stave off respiratory diseases and spikes in blood pressure too.

To combat the cold, clothing manufacturers started making what’s known as “thermal wear” – clothing specifically designed to retain heat. But all thermal wear isn’t created equal, and the term is used by some brands to simply refer to a line of clothing is warmer than others (though not especially heat retaining).

This article will look at the standard way of quantifying the thermal property of clothing, as well as what to look for when you buy thermal wear.

The TOG Rating

The TOG rating – or, Thermal Overall Grade – is a scientific test determining the heat retaining capacity of various articles of clothing and bedding. You’ll often see duvet makers flaunt their TOG rating, but arguably (at least for those with indoor heating) the TOG rating means more when applied to clothing.

The average thermal sock is about 0.89 TOGs. You can compare that to your average cotton sock, which is about 0.33 TOG. But if you really want a heavy hitter, you have to go with a brand like Heat Holders, whose socks boast a very impressive 2.34 TOGs.

What Makes Clothing “Thermal”?

Let’s stick with Heat Holders as the example, since they make the highest TOG rated thermal wear on the market. According to their website, their high quality thermal socks for men and women are made using high insulating yarn that’s knitted in such a ways as to create an extra long looped pile (in layman’s terms, a looped pile is essentially the raised structure of cloth).

That tells you that there are two important factors to look for in thermal clothing: the yarn used, and the ways in which that yarn is structured. Both have a profound impact of the heat retaining capacity of the final product.

What to Look For in Thermal Wear

Find thermal wear that advertises their TOG rating so you know what to expect. Again, a great place to start your search is with Heat Holders. If it is sheer heat retaining capacity you are after, they are your first choice. Conversely, be wary of brands that advertise a thermal line, but make no mention of what exactly makes the clothing “thermal”. And be wary of ad copy that withholds the TOG rating.

Staying warm in the winter isn’t about staying cooped up inside; it’s about making informed clothing choices and bundling up properly. Before you reach for a regular pair of cotton socks or underwear this winter, consider thermal wear, paying close attention to the materials and the TOG rating. That way, when it’s time to greet the day, you can do so with a warm welcome.

4 Reasons Backpackers Love Merino Wool Clothing

When backpacking around the world, the goal is to experience what each terrain has to offer. From the concrete jungles of cityscapes, to the wilds of the deep dark woods, you’re ready to take on whatever adventure the landscape affords.

The only problem is, being prepared for everything can leave you with a pretty bulky bag. That is, unless you pack Merino wool – a backpacker’s secret material, that allows you to pack less, stay fresh and feel good about your apparel choices. To expand on this, here are four reasons why Merino wool is the backpackers top choice of clothes for a trip.

Baggage Woes

Many of you have likely experienced lugging around bulky and heavy luggage to and from the airport, suitcases and backpacks filled with clothes, gadgets, and everything in between. As much as you might think you need everything in those luggage bags, you don’t – you’ve over packed, and now have to pay the price, literally and figuratively. Baggage fees are exorbitant these days, and carrying around heavy bags is anathema to the free natured experience of backpacking.

The problem is, you’ve filled your luggage with enormous amounts of socks and t-shirts in preparation for the heat, when you sweat through clothing, or the cold, when you need extra clothes to keep you warm. Luckily, Merino wool fixes both these problems…

Temperature Regulation

Merino wool comes from Merino sheep, a species of sheep that originated from Spain. “What does that have to do with backpacking and traveling?”, you might ask. Merino wool has many attributes that can help in minimizing what you pack in your luggage. For instance, if you’re traveling to a location where you’re unsure of the day-to-day weather, Merino wool is perfect, since it can regulate body temperature.

Merino wool is described as having “fibres [that] absorb your body’s moisture vapours and evaporate them outside of the fabric.” So in other words, it’s breathable, keeping us cool in warm weather. And during cooler weather, the “moisture vapours condense inside the fibre, giving off heat …”, and, in doing so, it keeps your body warm. By packing clothes that are made from Merino wool, you can get away with packing fewer items, since each Merino item is multi-purpose. This is one of the reasons why travelers love Merino wool clothing.

Experience

The ultimate goal while traveling is to immerse oneself in the experience, going in-depth and exploring what a new part of the world has to offer. You have so many places to go, things to see, and people to meet, and you don’t have time to spare a day to wash clothes. Not only is Merino wool body temperature regulating, but it also is resistant to odour and is wrinkle-resistant, meaning it doesn’t get smelly, so you don’t have to wash it every time you use it. Because Merino wool has elastic properties, when you do wash it, you don’t have to find an iron or a dryer to take out the wrinkles.

Responsible

Since Merino wool comes from sheep, the wool is renewable and at the same time gives back to mother earth making it also biodegradable. With much emphasis being placed on living green these days, Merino wool is a textile that you can feel good about.

Merino wool has a plethora of benefits when used as a fabric. It doesn’t get smelly and is versatile, so you can pack lightly, giving you more time to plan your adventure. It’s no wonder it is the top choice of clothes for travelers and backpackers alike.

Surprising Benefits of Doing Mindfulness Meditation

You might always have an excuse for not meditating. You keep telling yourself to do it, but you are busy at work. You also don’t feel like doing it because it stops you from doing the things you need to do. If you think that you have a lot on your plate and you are running out of time, you have even more significant reasons to try mindfulness meditation. Once you learn these benefits, you can give it a shot.

Reduce anxiety

You think about a lot of things in life, and these problems you face can cause stress. Some of these issues are not within your control, and even if you keep thinking about them, you can’t do anything. Therefore, you need to try mindfulness meditation when you are plagues by problems. By forgetting your issues for a moment, your stress levels will go down.

Be more tactful

Making judgements with things around you is easy. When you face someone, who doesn’t look like you, it is easy to judge that person and create biases in your mind. Worse, you might even express your bias to that person without thinking and cause them to feel hurt. When you start to be mindful, you control everything that you do and say. Before you judge, you try to evaluate your thoughts first. Before you speak, try filtering your words.

Prevent depression

One of the reasons why some people despair is because they tend to over think. They worry a lot about many things even if they don’t have to. When you start to be mindful, you forget about the things that are worrying. You let go of the problems and free your thoughts. When you feel depressed, it helps if you start seeing a medical professional. However, you may also consider doing mindfulness activities at home. Whether you are doing household chores or grooming yourself, you can be mindful of what you are doing.

Increase body satisfaction

When you start to be mindful, you become aware of what your body can do. You will think about what it does that is quite unimaginable. Along the way, you feel that you are lucky to have a healthy body. You will forget about your insecurities. You will appreciate what you have, instead of searching for what you don’t.

Remove distractions

Concentration is quite tricky for some people to do because they are not mindful of their actions. When you start meditating and reflecting, you will forget all these distractions. Even if things bother you, it is easy to focus on the positive aspects.

Start a business

It takes time to be a master in mindful meditation. However, if you start practising now, it could be easy for you to do better in the future. You might even open a meditation business to influence others to do the same thing. They might appreciate meditation too if they start seeing the benefits that they will get from doing it.

A solution to the physical changes in breasts due to several factors

There are few physical changes which women undergo throughout their life. With some significant like pregnancy, weight loss and aging, it can affect the way the breasts look and might leas to a loss of volume over time. Whether they might want to restore the figure again and want to achieve a larger size, there is always an option to go for breast augmentation.

What exactly is breast augmentation?

It is a procedure that helps in enlarging the size of the breasts with the use of silicone and saline breast implants.

Why to go for breast augmentation?

There are various reasons why one should go for breast augmentation. Primarily this is done to achieve larger and full-size breasts. This is also done to balance the unevenness of the breasts and restore the breast fullness after the pregnancy or breastfeeding.

The best way to go for is the NYC Breast Augmentation. New York City has the greatest sector for the breast augmentation and provides quality results.

Is such kind of manual change recommended?

Several doctors believe that breast augmentation surgery for women desiring fuller, larger a more even breasts is totally recommended. There are also few women who want to wait till they are done with having children so that they can avoid the post pregnancy changes to their breasts after surgery. Science has changed the life in so many ways. It has improved considerably over past several years. Women get to choose from different surgery options according to their uniqueness.

How to know if someone is qualified for the breast augmentation?

The NYC breast augmentation has a lot to choose from. It can be an excellent option for women seeking to improved the overall size and appearance of their breasts. Some want larger breast size, some desire to fit into their favourite swimsuit or fit to their clothing a bit better. Some also might have experienced breast volume loss due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight reduction or the process of aging.

It is very important to stay in a good physical and mental health before going for this procedure. It is recommended for women who are not undergoing any breastfeeding currently and have sensible expectations of the outcome of the breast augmentation surgery and seek aesthetic improvement and not necessarily perfection.

The above are the qualifiers to go for a breast augmentation and they become the most ideal breast augmentation candidates. Women who recently had children should wait for a minimum of 1-2 months followed by the process of breastfeeding in order for an accurate breast size to be determined. It is recommended to consult a doctor and get a proper counselling about it before you go for this step. Surgical operations should be carried out with proper precision since this cannot be undone. There are several techniques to choose from along with several options in the breast size. The one which is more suitable should be decided by the woman and later examined by the surgeon.

4 Reasons Your Ideal Interior Designer Should Be A Parent

If you’re a parent, you know the importance of seeking advice from other parents. Generally speaking, many non-parents don’t have a realistic view of what it’s like to raise a child. Many hold simplistic views of what it takes to correct a child’s behavior. It’s not their fault. They just haven’t experienced the futility of everyday things like trying to keep socks and shoes on scurrying little feet.

From a non-parent’s perspective, a three-year-old tossing a sock on the ground in the middle of the grocery store can seem like a simple opportunity for discipline: punish them and they won’t do it again. Once they have kids, they’ll understand the futility, and why so many parents let their kids run around barefoot, even in the grocery store.

The same holds true for hiring an interior designer to decorate your dream home. For example, if you’ve got young children who love to get behind the sofa or recliner, you can’t hide cords back there. Decorating that area of your home will be limited to cordless lighting, or the cords will need to be tacked along the baseboards, up the wall, or under the carpet. An interior designer without kids might think you should be able to control where your kids play. They won’t understand that no matter how well you discipline your kids, they will still get behind the sofa and chair.

Searching for an interior designer to beautify your home and create an inviting environment is a process. It’s important to find an interior designer who gets your vision, your taste in décor, and understands your needs as a parent.

  1. An interior designer with kids will be living in the real world

People with kids understand that how things “should be” doesn’t apply. Kids shouldn’t run through the house, just like cats shouldn’t climb drapes, but both will happen regardless of established consequences.

Children have the highest risk for home injury and accidents. Each year, more than 3.4 million kids are unintentionally injured in the home, and over 2,300 children under 15 die from their injuries. You shouldn’t need to convince a designer of this risk. Another parent will take your concerns for safety seriously.

An interior decorator with kids won’t bat an eye at your request that all potential safety hazards need to be eliminated. They won’t call your parenting capabilities into question. They’ll just do their job.

  1. Parents silently get each other

Parents understand each other on a level that often requires no words. When you bring your toddler to a friend’s house with a stained t-shirt, another parent wouldn’t bat an eye. Someone without kids might wonder why you didn’t dress them in clean clothes before coming over.

If you ask an interior designer with children to avoid certain styles or do things a little differently because you have kids, they won’t have to ask for an explanation. They’ll just get it.

  1. They naturally think about things non-parents don’t

An interior designer with children will come to you armed with unique experiences that arose from being a parent. You probably won’t need to remind them of the need to install childproof doorknobs, and they might already be thinking about ways to modify their designs to meet your needs. For example, if you want indoor plants, they might already have a solution to make them childproof by placing a section of burlap sack over the soil. You can still water the plant through the burlap, but your kids can’t dig around in the soil and get it all over the carpet and house.

  1. You’ll have something in common to connect over

You’re going to spend a lot of time with your interior designer. Connecting with another parent can give you something in common to talk about. Everyone prefers to connect with people they can relate to. Parents tend to connect better with other parents, especially when they don’t share anything else in common.

You deserve a designer who listens

The right interior designer will understand your requests that center on child safety. They won’t tell you to do a better job parenting your kids to avoid altering their design ideas. They’ll listen to your ideas and concerns and find a way to make it work.

What To Expect At A Dental Check-up And Cleaning

It’s important to regularly see a dentist to have your teeth professionally cleaned, monitored, and have any problems properly diagnosed. Even when taking proper care of your teeth at home with brushing and flossing routines, a dental hygienist and dentist can perform several procedures and necessary checks to help prevent future problems, plus they can provide treatments for current issues like tooth decay and gum disease.

Once you’ve reached adulthood the importance of having a good dentist like Dentistry on 7th is a priority, so ask your friends and family for a recommendation. It’s advised for adults to see their dentist twice a year. Individuals who are at a greater risk for tooth troubles might be advised to visit more often, as should those who need regular adjustments to orthodontics or multiple cosmetic treatments.

Dental visits might be covered by your insurance. If you’re without coverage, it’s a good idea to let your dental care professionals know this because they might be able to select lower cost options for certain treatments. You can claim dental expenses paid out of pocket on your taxes in Canada, as well.

During your check-up appointment, a dental hygienist or the dentist will clean the teeth, survey your teeth, gums, and mouth for any warning signs or indicators of a condition like decay, gingivitis, or oral cancer, using bright directed lights, a small probing implement, and an angled mirror. Cleaning involves a scaler to gently scrape the surface of the teeth to remove tartar build up, which occurs when plaque is left to harden. A vibrating device might also be used for this. Teeth are polished with a lightly abrasive paste creating a smoother surface that plaque has trouble attaching to. They’ll also floss and may rinse the mouth with an antiseptic cleaner.

Your dental professionals may recommend performing an x-ray to gather more information about possible decay, cavities, hairline cracks, or other problems that can’t be seen by the naked eye. A dental radiograph doesn’t emit enough radiation to be dangerous. You might occasionally need a fluoride treatment for extra protection. The dentist might also need to take a dental mould of your teeth to better examine your bite or to fit a dental implement like a mouth guard to prevent teeth grinding.

They will also advise on the proper flossing and brushing techniques for you to practice at home, and will ask about medications you might be taking, because some side effects, like dry mouth, can cause dental problems. They may ask you about your diet, as snacks and sugary drinks, coffee, tea, wine, and other food and drinks are problematic when consumed regularly.

The above list is not exhaustive and other procedures might be part of your regular exam. If you’re wondering what exactly your appointment will entail, ask the receptionist and/or dental care professionals prior to your appointment. Feeling anxious about a dental exam is normal, and it’s a good idea to let your hygienist and dentist know so they can better accommodate your needs to make you more comfortable.

5 Facts About Pollen Allergies That Will Help You Fight Them

Allergies plague millions of people every season with stuffy noses, red eyes and more. Some may be so beaten down by these symptoms they look for every way to help ease their suffering. When trying to find relief from you allergies during the pollen season knowledge is power. The more you understand how and why these allergies occur the easier it is for you to avoid your triggers and lessen your symptoms. Let’s take a look at some facts about pollen, how to avoid it, and treat pollen allergies.

What is Pollen?

Pollen is one of the most common triggers of seasonal allergies. Experts usually refer to pollen allergy as seasonal allergic rhinitis. Each allergy season, plants release tiny pollen grains to fertilize other plants of the same species. Most of the pollens that cause allergic reactions come from trees, weeds and grasses. These plants make small pollen grains that travel by the wind.

In fact, grasses are the most common cause of allergy. Ragweed is a main cause of weed allergies. Other common sources of weed pollen include sagebrush, pigweed, lamb’s quarters and tumbleweed. Certain species of trees, including birch, cedar and oak, also produce highly allergenic pollen. Even mold spores in high concentrations can give rise to the same symptoms as pollen.

We come into contact with pollen by breathing it in through the airways. It also becomes attached to the skin, hair and eyes. For most people this is unproblematic, however, in an allergic individual, the immune system is activated and an inflammatory response occurs in the nose and/or eyes.

What Is a Pollen Count?

A pollen count is how much pollen is in the air. Pollen count changes daily and even hourly so if you have seasonal fall allergies it is best to check your local weather stations for the pollen levels. It is possible the main types of pollen are also reported. There are also several apps and notifications you can set up to alert you on days where pollen may be high. Keeping track of your areas pollen count can help tremendously when you are trying to get control of your allergies.

What Are the Symptoms of Pollen Allergy?

Symptoms of pollen allergy include runny, blocked nose and sneezing. The eyes stream, itch, redden and become puffy. Sufferers increasingly breathe through the mouth and so the air going down into the lungs is not warmed up, humidified and cleansed of particles, for example pollen.

This can trigger or make people with asthma suffer even worse. Many experience that they become tired and they struggle with reduced ability to concentrate or study. This leads to poorer performance in relation to school, studies, work and family or recreational activities. Symptoms can vary for each person and it’s best to keep a journal of your symptoms to find correlations with the pollen counts.

How Can I Prevent an Allergic Reaction to Pollen?

There are actions you can take to reduce allergic reactions to pollen. Most of these include just keeping your body and things that touch it clear of the pollen. Here are a few things you can do to reduce your exposure, and your reactions.

Limit your outdoor activities when pollen counts are high. This will lessen the amount of pollen allergen you inhale and reduce your symptoms. If you do have to be outside during high pollen counts, you can also take some steps to stop the pollen from affecting you as harshly. You could wear sunglasses and a hat. This will help keep pollen out of your eyes and off your hair. Change and wash clothes worn during outdoor activities. You should also be sure to bathe and shampoo your hair daily before going to bed. This will remove pollen from your hair and skin and keep it off your bedding. Then be sure wash your bedding in hot, soapy water once a week.

There are also preventative measures you should take when you know it is allergy season. Such as limiting close contact with pets that spend a lot of time outdoors. Then, keep windows closed during pollen season and use central air conditioning with an asthma & allergy filter. You can also begin taking allergy medicine before pollen season begins. Most allergy medicines actually work best when taken this way. This allows the medicine to prevent your body from releasing histamine and causing a bad allergy reaction.

5. How Do You Treat A Pollen Allergy

The primary goal in all allergy treatment is to try to avoid the thing that makes you flare up. Treatment may take the form of a nasal spray, eye drops, allergy tablets, inhaled medications or injections. Allergy medications are not a cure, but can reduce your discomfort. The aim of the treatment is to be as well as possible, using the least amount of medicines.

It is important to understand that many allergy medicines are preventive. They must be used regularly every day throughout the pollen season, even where the symptoms disappear on individual days where the pollen count is low. Also keep in mind that your symptoms can be heightened by wother environmental effects such as tobacco smoke, exhaust fumes, dust, perfume and strong fragrances, wind, temperature fluctuations, infection, emotional and hormonal factors.

Now that you understand what pollen allergies are and how they can be induced, it may be easier for you to deal with your allergies. This upcoming allergy symptom try and implement a few of the preventative measures and you will see a difference in your symptoms. You may even be able to relieve most of your suffering- making for a happier and healthier you!

Learning How to Cope With a Family Tragedy

Nobody likes thinking about the possibility of a family tragedy. Unfortunately, all it takes is one bad car collision, one workplace accident, or one unexpected illness for your family to be changed forever. Though you may be brokenhearted to the point of physical exhaustion, it’s your duty to stay strong for your kids, your spouse, and the people who love you—and that means learning to cope with a horrifying situation.

Step One: Know That It’s Okay to Grieve

First, you have to accept that it’s okay to grieve. Even as a parent trying to stay consistent in her responsibilities, you need to find time to mourn your loss, and cope with the tragedy in your own way. If you don’t give yourself permission to confront or deal with these negative emotions, it could affect your life in far worse ways in the future.

Step Two: Accept That Everyone Grieves Differently

That said, there’s no single “right” or “normal” way to grieve. Though it’s common for people to cite the five stages of grief as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, the truth is most people don’t follow these stages in order, or even experience all stages. Your grief may manifest almost exclusively as anger and outrage, or you may sink into a prolonged depression. You may find yourself laughing as if nothing ever happened, or find yourself unable to focus on anything in the “normal” world. Along similar lines, your grieving process could last mere days, or be prolonged for months to a year or longer.

It’s important to accept that your grieving process will be unique, and doesn’t have to conform to any other standards. You aren’t abnormal, you shouldn’t feel guilty, and you shouldn’t try to reshape your grieving process to fit what’s expected of you.

Step Three: Facilitate and Engage in Open Communication

Your family is undergoing this tragedy together. If you want to process it healthily and maximize your chances of a full recovery, you’ll need to facilitate and engage in open communication. It’s important to talk to your kids openly and honestly about what’s happened, and it’s important to express your own feelings on the situation. Tell people what you’re feeling, even if you’re embarrassed by it, or if it’s hard to talk about, and be willing to listen to what other people are saying. It’s difficult in the moment, but will take you one step closer to positive mental health.

Step Four: Minimize Your Personal Responsibilities and Time Commitments

If possible, in the wake of a family tragedy, try to minimize your personal responsibilities and time commitments. Take a few days off work, cancel the normal meetings and gatherings you’d attend, and ask a trusted friend or family member (who’s less affected by the tragedy) to take care of some of the errands for you. While you may be tempted to immerse yourself in work or other distractions, it’s important to have time to confront what you’re feeling. Minimizing your other life responsibilities may give you the time you need to find personal solace.

Step Five: Get Professional Help

Though you may be tempted to get through the grieving process on your own (and you may be perfectly capable of it), almost all people can benefit from some level of grief counseling. That may mean speaking with a cognitive behavioral therapist on a regular basis, or simply attending a support group once or twice a week until you feel like you’re starting to make progress. There are lots of strategies you can use to make emotional progress and continue your daily life, but without the neutral, experienced perspective of a professional, you may be blind to some of the factors holding you back from getting better. You owe it to yourself and your family to progress as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Step Six: Gradually Return to Normalcy

Some people are tempted to return to the normal routine as quickly as possible, while others may sulk indefinitely, staving off a return to normalcy for as long as possible. The best route for most people is something in between; it’s important to get back to work and start reincorporating your daily responsibilities gradually so you don’t lose momentum, but if you go back too quickly you can easily be overwhelmed (or fail to give yourself enough time to process your feelings).

Coping with a tragedy isn’t easy, but it’s necessary if you want your family to be strong—and eventually move on. Go at your own pace, learn to understand your own grieving process, and keep taking baby steps toward a healthier life. As long as you preserve your forward momentum, you’ll eventually get there.

How to Save on Holiday Shopping This Year

If you aren’t careful, you could end up spending thousands of dollars on your holiday shopping this year. But it doesn’t have to be this way! If you come up with a plan, you can spend far less than you ever thought possible.

The Excessive State of Holiday Shopping

It seems like holiday shopping becomes an even bigger production every year. From Black Friday and Cyber Monday to brand-specific sales and deals, it’s nearly impossible not to get sucked into the spirit.

According to data gathered from a 2016 National Retail Federation study, the average American plans to spend $935.58 during the holiday season. Nearly one in five Americans spends more than $1,000, while roughly 50 percent spend at least $500. And despite these astronomical numbers, 37 percent of people have no savings plan or strategy for tracking how much they spend. As you can guess, this is a recipe for disaster.

6 Tips for Saving Money This Holiday Shopping Season

With the holiday shopping season quickly approaching, let’s take a look at some different strategies for saving money.

 

  • Save and Purchase in Advance

 

One of the worst things you can do is wait until late November or early December to start your holiday shopping. Not only is it impractical for most people to spend this much money in such a short period of time, but it also prevents you from finding the best deals.

Once the calendar turns to July, you should already be thinking about your holiday shopping. Make a list of people you’ll be buying gifts for and set a limit for each one. This gives you four or five months to save – as well as a chance to spread out your spending.

 

  • Use Coupons

 

When you shop in advance, you have the opportunity to wait for deals to come along. Keep an eye on coupon sites like Groupon and MyCoupons for good discounts. If you’re patient, you can find discounts on products you were already planning to purchase.

 

  • Purchase Discounted Gift Cards

 

Gift cards are always a great gift for that person on your list who is hard to please, but did you know that you could also save money by purchasing discounted gift cards and then using the balances to buy presents? A website like GiftCardGranny lets you purchase gift cards for stores like Old Navy, Gap, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target at a fraction of the standard cost.

 

  • Buy in Bulk

 

Do you have people with similar tastes on your list – such as lots of grandchildren? One of the best ways to save money is to buy items in bulk. Not only will you save the time it takes to find a gift for each person, but you’ll also get a per-unit discount.

 

  • Give Handmade Gifts

 

“Looking for a unique Christmas gift that won’t break the bank but is sure to get a smile? This year, skip the same-old, store bought stocking stuffers and spread some holiday cheer with a homemade gift your friends and family will love,” suggests Katie Strasberg of Southern Living.

Homemade gifts could include baked goods, ornaments, crafts, jewelry, photo albums, candles, or anything else that you think the people on your list will like.

 

  • Price Check on Your Phone

 

There’s something very classic and nostalgic about shopping in physical stores during the holiday season. But if you’re going to shop retail, make sure you’re still comparing prices to get the best deal.

As you browse inventory in a store, use an app to find the same items online. The Amazon app, for example, has a barcode scanner that you can use to quickly check the price on their website. Walmart Savings Catcher and Shop Savvy are also useful.

Be a Smart Holiday Shopper

There’s no rule that says you have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on gifts during the holiday season. In fact, smart, savvy individuals make it a point not to overspend. Hopefully this article has given you some strategies and motivation for spending less and saving more. Happy holidays!