Holiday Hacks: Thanksgiving Dinner

(philly)

1. Keep it Simple

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Thanksgiving is about coming together as a family and enjoying good food, company and booze. 

2. Pot Luck

First Thanksgiving at your house? On a budget this year? Want to get everyone involved? Try a pot luck Thanksgiving! Assign dishes to family members or friends, or let it be an open invitation. This cuts down on costs, dishes and frustration, but ups the fun!
(countryliving)

3. When in Doubt, Throw It Out

If you can buy it disposable, do so. Thanksgiving might be the yummiest holiday, but it's also the messiest. You'll be doing dishes until Christmas. Get disposable! Plasticware, paper plates, aluminum foil cooking dishes, etc.
(baristanet)

4. Assign Jobs

Thanksgiving is a team effort. Give everyone a job that way the holiday can go smoothly and quick! Possible jobs include: 
COOKING:
-turkey
-stuffing
-cutting/prepping vegetables
-dessert
CLEANING:
-sweeping/mopping, vacuuming floors
-countertops
-bathrooms
-set the table
-trash
-dishes

5. Lay Down Plastic

Put down some plastic tarps or even a disposable tablecloths from Dollar Tree on the floors in the kitchen and dining area. This will cut down majorly in messes and cleaning up.

6. Trash Management

Put out bins or bags. Make it super easy to throw trash away, that way no one will just leave trash around.

7. Food Shopping

Don't go shopping the day of or night before, but if you find yourself in such a situation, make sure you have a game plan as well as time. Keep your eyes on Weekly Ads and coupons for your local grocery stores. Check out bulk stores like Costco and Sam's Club. WRITE A SHOPPING LIST. 
(thanks2giving)
(pintrest)

8. Special Dishes

Dietary restrictions seem to be very prevalent in this day and age. Check out with family members to be aware of any new diets such as Uncle John's gluten intolerance due to Gout or Becky, Jason's new girlfriend, the vegan. There are actually plenty of recipes and ideas online for every restriction, allergy or fad diet for this time of year!

9. Leftovers

Check out recipes online to see how you can utilize your left overs to keep your kitchen stocked for a while!
(food-hacks.wonderhowto)

Holiday Hacks: Black Friday Shopping!

The most wonderful time of the year can be pretty stressful. Here are some helpful hacks, tips and strategies to keep you on track during your Black Friday shopping.

(momitforward)

1. Do your research

Who are you shopping for? What do you need to get? Which stores have the best deals? Can you just get it online? Do you have access to coupons? Have you checked the stores' websites? RetailMeNot? Does the store price match? Check out these apps for the best deals on Black Friday, or for the rest of your holiday shopping.
The 10 Best Shopping Apps to Compare Prices
Black Friday 2015-Best Deals (Google Play)
DealNews
Black Friday 2015 Ads App (Apple)
20 Mobile Apps for Shopping Discounts and Deals 

2. Gameplan

Now that you have your research completed you can come up with a plan of action. Schedule which stores you want to hit. Pace yourself! Come up with a time table, budget, shopping list, etc. Keeping on track will alleviate some aggravation and also keep you from buying things just because they are there. 

3. Price Matching

Price matching is your friend. In your research figure out where does price matching. This will save you plenty of dough, but be careful for tensions may be high.

4. Online Deals on Black Friday

Cyber Monday is no longer sacred for online deals. Amazon has been running Black Friday sales for almost a week now. Redneck Couture is having an awesome Black Friday sale (with every cardigan order you get a FREE tshirt). Find if any of the stores you want to shop at are having deals online as well.

5. Lay Away

Put some items on lay away. This allows you to get more shopping done without breaking the bank.

6. Shop in Packs

Every year you hear horror stories from Black Friday. It's safer, easier and probably more fun to shop with a buddy or three. Not only does this decrease the chances of injury and losing your wallet, but you can assign jobs so the shopping gets done faster. It's always good to have a buddy to wait in line while you shop!

7. Keep Healthy

If you want to make shopping an all day event, make sure to pack snacks and drinks. Stopping to buy food might throw you off your game or get you tired real fast.

8. Pace Yourself

Pace yourself with the physical shopping, don't over exert yourself--you have plenty of time. Pace yourself with your budget as well. Don't spend too much money on Black Friday that you could struggle on Cyber Monday and throughout the holiday season.

9. Make a weekend out of it.

Many stores now have Black Friday as entire weekend event. This allows you plenty of time to get everything done. Pace yourself. Pace yourself. Pace yourself.

10. Can you find it online?

If you can, buy it online.