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Help is On the Way!

“Haul out the holly. Put up the tree before my spirit falls again. Fill up the stocking. I may be rushing things but deck the halls again now…”

Each year, as Thanksgiving ends and my Christmas to-do list looms overwhelmingly long, there are ways I use technology to help me save time, save money or just save my sanity. I’d like to share my favorites with you in hopes that you will find this holiday season a little less stressful and more enjoyable.

1. Save your sanity

Let’s start with the dreaded gift exchange drawing. Someone (maybe you?) has the pleasure of tearing little pieces of paper, writing names on them, putting them in a container and drawing them one by one to create a gift exchange list to be distributed. And, if your family is like mine, you have to redraw for family members who can’t be assigned their own spouse or child.

Stop that nonsense and go to namedrawing.com. The beauty of this free site is that you can specify rules so that spouses don’t draw each other, or parents don’t draw children, etc. With the click of your mouse, the list is created. You can copy and paste the list into an email for everyone, and you’re done!

2. Save your money

Once you know which gifts must be purchased, it’s time to save some money. There are probably thousands of shopping comparison/coupon websites and apps.

A client recently told me about a site and app called PoachIt. What I like about PoachIt is that you can create “watch lists” for price reductions on specific products. With the PoachIt app you scan the barcode for an item in the store, add it to your watch list, and wait to be notified when it goes on sale at that store. Or, you can do a web search with the product name using PoachIt.com or the app. Additionally, it’s easy to find coupons from your favorite sites or stores for free shipping or extra discount promotion codes.

Unfortunately, PoachIt does not provide price comparison shopping, so try pricegrabber.com, the pricegrabber app or the Amazon Price Check app for that.

3. Save your time (and money)

How many of you have considered switching from mailed holiday cards to e-cards? There’s a really nice site called paperlesspost.com which offers beautiful free and very low-cost holiday cards. You can choose from traditional or photo cards and it’s so easy to use. Just pick a card, personalize it, enter your email list, schedule when you want it to be sent, and that’s it!

4. Get in the spirit!

Finally, to keep you in the spirit of Christmas while you are wrapping, cooking or creating e-cards, download the Pandora app to your mobile device, select your favorite holiday genre and enjoy this “most wonderful time of the year…”