Taking the stress out of holiday shopping can be easy

Posted: Monday, November 25, 2002

(NAPSI)-Want to wrap up your holiday shopping faster and easier this year? A recent Visa U.S.A. survey found that nearly half (48 percent) of women feel the holiday season is an especially stressful time of year-and the added stress of leaving shopping until the last minute can keep people from enjoying the holiday spirit.

Don't get the blues over green-Much of the stress people feel around the holidays can be attributed to money. Set a budget and remember to include hidden costs. Be sure to document all your expenses including wrapping paper, gas, cards, food and unplanned gifts.

Go surfing-Shopping online can save you time driving, standing in line at the store or waiting at the post office to ship a gift. Plus, some Web sites offer free holiday shipping.

Organization is a gift-Try to keep everything in one place. Rather than sticking Post-it notes all over the refrigerator, try using a free online holiday budgeting and organizational tool at www.organizeyourholiday.com. The site developed by Visa and the Women's Institute for Financial Education, contains a downloadable personal budget, holiday spending tips, gift lists and links to shopping Web sites. It can help make the holidays seem less hectic.

What a card-Giving people gift cards can take some of the stress out of the holidays-for both you and yours. Visa now offers a gift card that allows recipients to shop anywhere that Visa is accepted-even online. That means

less guesswork for you, and fewer unwanted gifts for the receiver to return.

Visa Gift card information can be found at visa.com.

Work the clock-Budget your time as you would your money. When you have

five holiday parties to attend, gifts to wrap and cooking to do, chances are

you won't set aside time for your family and yourself. Decide what nights

will be reserved for you and your loved ones and stick to your plan.

Creating a budget can help shoppers save time and money.

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