Ready or not Christmas is almost here. Though it is a time of giving and spending time with loved ones, it also can add some major stress in your life, especially if your bank account isn’t ready to be hit with Christmas expenses. To aid you in your gift purchases this year we have comprised a list of easy tips to help you save some money and not completely drain your bank account.
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If you have a large list of people to buy for and a small amount of disposable income, then you might want to keep it simple when it comes to gifts. The season of giving doesn’t have stipulations on how lavish a gift you give should be. When it comes to co-workers, distant relatives, or that neighbor you feel obligated to give just a little something to, simple and cheap items like a coffee cup with a mixture of candy in it will work fine. It’s the thought that counts anyway.
With the influx of online sales during the holidays, many online retailers will offer free shipping for the holidays on specific dates. Research what retailers are offering free shipping for holiday orders and try to shop at only these places to save some extra cash.
There are multiple retail stores like Ross and TJ Maxx that offer substantially discounted designer items that are leftover inventory. You can get everything from designer handbags and perfumes to name brand electric razors for a lot less than what they were originally sold for.
Getting organized on who you are going to be buying for is a must in order to even attempt to save money this Christmas. Once you create your list, categorize the gift level. For example, Karen from accounting will be getting a coffee mug with candy, so she’s a level 3, your brother that usually gets a $25 gift card to Apple Bee’s is a level 2, and your spouse who you know wants an $80 FitBit is a level 1. This helps when making your budget on how much to spend per level of gift.
Once you have a list of people you know you are going to be buying gifts for and the gift levels they are, come up with an actual number you can afford to spend. Try your hardest to stay within budget even if that means some of the level 1s gets bumped down to a level 2.
That pajama set from your aunt last year that you never even opened looks like it would fit your sister’s new boyfriend perfectly, just make sure your aunt isn’t around when you give it to him as a gift. Its bound to happen that you’re going to receive gifts that you really don’t need or want, so hold on to them for next year. As long as the gift giver doesn’t find out, what’s that harm. When it comes to your budget that’s one less person to actually buy for.
There will be tons of sale advertisements for percentages off and buy one get one, but make sure you are still getting the best deal. When it comes to online shopping it may take an extra minute to price check an item on another retail site. Even if it’s just a dollar cheaper, getting the best deal for all the gifts you purchase will add up when it comes to saving money.
So there is one item on the table at thanksgiving that needs to have some extra attention when preparing, and that’s the Turkey. A staple dish for the Thanksgiving holiday, there are many different recipes and procedures to preparing a turkey. To help you this year prepare the perfect turkey for your family and friends we have listed the top tips to follow when cooking your feast.
Get the Right Size
When making a turkey for a group, you want to make sure everyone actually gets to take a bite. To ensure you make the right amount figure on 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person. For example, 8 people will require an 8 to 12-pound turkey.
Cook with Veggies
When cooking, place your turkey on top of a rack of carrots, onions and celery with a regular cooking pan placed underneath the rack. Cooking the turkey while lifted off the pan will actually help increase air circulation, which will lead to any evenly crispy turkey. The vegetables will add tons of extra flavor as well.
Keep it Moist
A dry turkey can be the downfall of Thanksgiving dinner. To ensure a perfectly moist turkey, use the technic of brining. Brining is similar to marinating where you soak the turkey for 30 minutes to a few days in a solution called brine before cooking. Brine is a solution usually containing salt, cold water, sugar and a variety of spices. Here is a link for the perfect brine recipe. Brine Recipe
Hold the Stuffing
Instead of cooking the stuffing inside the turkey, cook it in a separate pan. Cooking stuffing inside the turkey can cause the growth of harmful bacteria. It also will take longer to cook, which could result in it being drier.
Tie It Up
To ensure the meat cooks evenly truss your turkey. Trussing is tying up the turkey so all the limbs are tightly bound close to the core. Simply tuck the wings of the turkey under the body and tie the legs together with kitchen string to create a tight package.
Better with Butter
A little butter makes everything better, doesn’t it? Before putting your turkey in the oven drench it with butter. Make sure the skin is completely dry and rub an entire stick of butter all of the turkey.
Contain the Flavor
To lock in all the flavor and juices, cover your turkey after taking it out of the oven with tin foil. Let it rest for at least 15 to 20 minutes before carving and be sure not to cover the turkey too tightly as you don’t want it to steam under the foil.