Tips

Holiday Shopping Do’s and Don’ts

Peace of Mind Concierge is always looking for ways to help you – this Holiday season we’d like to offer you our shopping services to simplify your life!

We know the holiday season is hectic for all. But that doesn’t mean you can afford to leave their budgets behind. Below is a list of holiday shopping Do’s and Don’ts to help you make the most of this wonderful season!

1. Establish a budget and stick to it

This can be one of the hardest things to do as you get caught up in buying that one last fantastic gift, but it’s essential to keep a financial plan in mind throughout the shopping season.

2. Comparison shop

Whether it’s a sale at a particular retailer, or a store that offers lower prices in general, make sure you take a little time to know you’re getting the best price on an item. If you find a lower price, don’t be afraid to ask another merchant to match that price. Some stores have price matching policies. Also, be sure to always ask if the store has any coupon promotions you can take advantage of.

3. Bring sales circulars out with you

You might find the perfect television of DVD player in an ad, but they all look similar on the shelf. Bring the circular so you remember the exact item you want to buy, and also that the price is accurate. Also, if the store is out of an advertised item, ask for a raincheck to buy the item at the sale price when the next shipment comes in

4. Save all your receipts

Put them all in an envelope and in a safe place where you can find them later. You never know when you’ll need to return something, and a receipt makes the process so much easier.

5. Don’t overuse credit cards

It can be tempting to put a big purchase on a credit card, but the bill won’t disappear as part of a holiday miracle. Also, if you’re using your debit card, be careful about incurring overdraft fees if you should run out of funds in your checking account.

6. Know the exchange policies

A store can have any return policy it wants, as long as it’s disclosed clearly and conspicuously before the sale is made. Just make sure it’s one you’re comfortable with if you think the item might be returned, and make sure to make a special note of the time restrictions for returning items.

7. Know the gift card rules

Be aware of expiration dates, fees, and what happens to a lost or stolen card. These rules can vary by retailer.

8. Check shipping dates

When you’re buying online, make sure what you’re buying is going to get to its destination in time. Most retailers list their latest dates for particular days like Christmas on their Websites.

9. Consider layaway plans

Layaway plans are being more heavily advertised this year, and may be a good option if you don’t want to use a credit card on an item but can’t afford the entire cost up front. Make sure to check on fees for the plan, and whether there are fees imposed if you decide to not purchase the item and ask for a refund. Also, make sure the deposit amount and payment schedule meet your needs.

10. Consider time and travel costs

If you find an item is on sale but across town or a town or two away, consider whether a small savings is worth the extra time and gas it will take to pick it up.

11. Keep an eye on your bags

You might put a bag or pocketbook down for just a few seconds to check out an item or complete a sale, and then you might forget it or have it taken while you’re not looking. Always be mindful of your belongings.

12. Protect your personal information

Make sure your credit card information is protected throughout the holiday season, both at stores and online. When shopping online, check for privacy and security seals that indicate security and privacy measures have been verified. Be sure to read the online retailer’s privacy policy before providing personal information, and only give the information necessary to consummate the transaction. When at a retailer, make sure the receipt doesn’t include your entire credit card number.

Time Management

Tips to reduce stress and improve productivity:

Peace of Mind is all about saving you time and helping you destress!

Effective time management is a primary means to a less stressful life. These practices can help you reduce your stress and reclaim your personal life.

Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the number and complexity of projects you have that need to be completed at work each day? Do you often feel the day flies by without your devoting the necessary attention to each assignment because other tasks keep landing on your desk, co-workers interrupt you with questions or you can’t get it all organized?

You probably know that effective time management will help you get more done each day. It has important health benefits, too. By managing your time more wisely, you can minimize stress and improve your quality of life.

But how do you get back on track when organizational skills don’t come naturally? To get started, choose one of these strategies, try it for two to four weeks and see if it helps. If it does, consider adding another one. If not, try a different one.

  • Plan each day. Planning your day can help you accomplish more and feel more in control of your life. Write a to-do list, putting the most important tasks at the top. Keep a schedule of your daily activities to minimize conflicts and last-minute rushes.
  • Prioritize your tasks. Time-consuming but relatively unimportant tasks can consume a lot of your day. Prioritizing tasks will ensure that you spend your time and energy on those that are truly important to you.
  • Say no to nonessential tasks. Consider your goals and schedule before agreeing to take on additional work.
  • Delegate. Take a look at your to-do list and consider what you can pass on to someone else.
  • Take the time you need to do a quality job. Doing work right the first time may take more time upfront, but errors usually result in time spent making corrections, which takes more time overall.
  • Break large, time-consuming tasks into smaller tasks. Work on them a few minutes at a time until you get them all done.
  • Practice the 10-minute rule. Work on a dreaded task for 10 minutes each day. Once you get started, you may find you can finish it.
  • Evaluate how you’re spending your time. Keep a diary of everything you do for three days to determine how you’re spending your time. Look for time that can be used more wisely. For example, could you take a bus or train to work and use the commute to catch up on reading? If so, you could free up some time to exercise or spend with family or friends.
  • Limit distractions. Block out time on your calendar for big projects. During that time, close your door and turn off your phone, pager and e-mail.
  • Get plenty of sleep, have a healthy diet and exercise regularly. A healthy lifestyle can improve your focus and concentration, which will help improve your efficiency so that you can complete your work in less time.
  • Take a break when needed. Too much stress can derail your attempts at getting organized. When you need a break, take one. Take a walk. Do some quick stretches at your workstation. Take a day of vacation to rest and re-energize.

 

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