Keeping Your Purchases Organized Can Reduce Holiday Stress

If you are like many mothers, you love the holidays and loath the extra demands on your time and schedule. Since we all want the holidays to be a wonderful time for our family and friends, we tend to take on added responsibilities to get the shopping, decorating, wrapping, meal prep, baking, cooking, mailing, ordering, cleaning and hosting done! Did I miss anything? 

 Since holiday time can bring on extra stress, anything that can make things easier will surely make this time of year more enjoyable. December causes additional spending so keeping track of expenses is even more important. In previous weeks we discussed planning your spending to be efficient. Now here are some tips to keep you organized post-purchase.

Receipts

Every purchase comes with a receipt, paper or digital. In-store purchases will often ask if you want a paper receipt or an emailed receipt? Online stores will email you a receipt at the time of purchase. All these documents, paper and digital, can be a source of stress if you ever need to go back and find them for a return, exchange or warranty issue. Getting these documents organized sooner can help avoid stress later.

Keep receipts for holiday purchases. It might go without saying, but all these little slips of paper can get lost during the month of December. Every few days go through your receipts and do the following:

1.    If it is a paper receipt highlight or write on the receipt what was purchased. Now you don’t have to go through a long list of items on a grocery receipt to find the toy you picked up on sale.

2.    If it is an emailed receipt, use whatever editing tool you like to make notations on the receipt.

Create a filing system for your receipts and file them ASAP.

1.    I keep a paper file of receipts but if you prefer digital, create a file on your computer and scan all your notated receipts into that file. 

2.    You can also create a filing system for your emails and keep all the holiday receipts and online order confirmations in one file. Now you don’t have to search through endless emails to find an order receipt.

 Packing Slips

When your order arrives don’t throw away the packing slip from the company. This will often include return information as well as a return label if needed. This is also a great time to review the return policy and deadlines for your purchase. Save your packing slips in your paper file in case they are needed later.  

Stash Gifts Together

Talk about avoiding stress, one year I bought a sought-after gift for my son and stashed it for safe keeping. Well it was too well kept because later I couldn’t find it anywhere! Talk about a frustrating waste of time trying to find the gift I knew I already bought! It would have been a greater waste of money if I was forced to rebuy the gift. Luckily I did find the toy before the holiday, but you can avoid this experience by designating a spot (or two) to keep your presents.

 Store Holiday Supplies Together

When out shopping it can be tempting to buy the beautiful decorations and supplies we see, only to come home and realize we already have too much! We can avoid this overspending by knowing what we have before we head out, saving time and money in the stores. Instead of having all your decorations and wrapping supplies all over your home, keep them together for easier access. Not only will this keep you efficient when it comes to decorating and wrapping, but you can quickly assess what you need to replenish.

 Taking a few minutes to organize your receipt, gifts and supplies can help reduce some of the post-purchase headaches than can accompany holiday spending. Just in case the present wasn’t exactly what they wanted, now the task of tracking down the receipt will be a lot easier, and for a busy mom easier is better!

Asalyn Coachman is a Registered Representative of and offers Securities through The O.N. Equity Sales Company, Member FINRA/SIPC, 39395 W Twelve Mile Rd., Ste 102 Farmington Hills, MI 48331 (248) 482-3600. Investment Advisory Services offered through O.N. Investment Management Company.  Financial Architects, Inc. and Mother Honestly are not subsidiaries or affiliates of The O.N. Equity Sales Company or O.N. Investment Management Company