James K Richards, CPA

NMLS#: 880721

December Newsletter

WatersEdge Mortgage

7873 3rd Ave S
St. Petersburg, FL 33707

3 Steps to Prepare Your Home for Hosting Holiday Guests

Your home
Hosting guests in your home this holiday season doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, because you’re reading this, then you’re well ahead of the curve. Successfully hosting guests in a stress-free environment during the holidays comes down to one thing: preparation. To help make sure your holiday season is merry and bright, here are some ...

Hosting guests in your home this holiday season doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, because you’re reading this, then you’re well ahead of the curve. Successfully hosting guests in a stress-free environment during the holidays comes down to one thing: preparation.

To help make sure your holiday season is merry and bright, here are some steps on how to prepare your home for your guests.

1. Declutter Your Home

Don’t wait until your guests arrive to start removing clutter. You can start cleaning off countertops and living spaces right now. Have a system in place so you can stay organized. If you can’t find a place for everything, carefully wrap it in a garbage bag and store it in a safe area. You can always return to it later after your guests depart.

2. Prepare the Bedrooms

Your guests will be much happier if they have a comfortable place to sleep. Start planning who will be sleeping where as soon as you’ve confirmed who will be staying at your house.

Air Mattresses

If you don’t have enough beds, consider purchasing an air mattress or foldable bed. If space is tight, you might be able to group some of the kids together in the same room.

Sheets, Pillows, Blankets

Preparing the bedrooms in advance will also give you the opportunity to make sure all the sheets are washed, extra pillows are available, and there are enough comforters to go around. You should also confirm that there are enough blankets so your guests can stay warm.

Nightlights

Nightlights are another essential component that is often overlooked. Having a nightlight next to each bed will give your guests a reasonable amount of light should they want to read. It will also make the environment safer, as they won’t be resigned to walking around in the dark.

Storage

Finally, make sure your guests have a convenient place to unload their luggage. This will make their stay more comfortable and help you with cleaning after they leave. If the room they will be staying in has a spare closet or dresser, make a little room for them to store their belongings.

3. Don’t Forget the Bathrooms

Similar to preparing bedrooms, it is a good idea to know what bathrooms each guest will be using. This will give you a chance to prepare any special accommodations that may be needed. If separate bathrooms are not an option, preparing in advance will give you enough time to make a single bathroom feel more spacious.

Make sure your bathrooms have enough clean linens and ensure those items are easily accessible. Additionally, stock up on the amenities. Essential items include any of the following:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Extra unopened toothbrushes
  • Lotion
  • Face wash
  • Menstruation products

While most guests will likely bring their own amenities, it is always a good idea to have some on hand.

Finally, ensure you have enough cleaning supplies on hand in case of an emergency. This way, your guests have everything they need to clean up after themselves.

Now You’re Ready to Host

Now that you know what you need to do to prepare, you’re ready to host your holiday guests!

Helpful Tips to Control Over-Spending Around the Holidays

Finances
With the holidays approaching, you’re probably feeling a little tingle in the wallet that’s urging you to spend. While the holidays are the perfect time for gift-giving and reciprocity, people often spend beyond their means. To help make sure this doesn’t happen to you, here are some helpful tips to control over-spending around the holidays...
This article is for information, illustrative and entertainment purposes only and does not purport to show actual results. It is not, and should not be regarded as investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular investment action.

With the holidays approaching, you’re probably feeling a little tingle in the wallet that’s urging you to spend. While the holidays are the perfect time for gift-giving and reciprocity, people often spend beyond their means. To help make sure this doesn’t happen to you, here are some helpful tips to control over-spending around the holidays.

Budget

Before you start buying gifts and scheduling gatherings, assess your financial situation and make a budget. This will help you maintain a realistic outlook. If you have set aside funds throughout the year, you’re already ahead of the game. If not, consider saving a small amount of money from each paycheck for next year.

Watch Those Credit Cards

If you absolutely have to use your credit card for a purchase, calculate how much money you will make in January so you can make sure to pay it off. Don’t fall into the trap of spending more than you intended due to credit card interest.

If you find yourself using a credit card, try to limit your spending to a single card. Using multiple cards can result in confusion, which increases your chances of missing a payment and getting hit with a late fee and interest. Additionally, make sure you check your statement regularly. The holidays are rife with scams, and you’ll want to alert your bank as soon as possible if you fall victim to one.

Make a List

Make a list that includes the name of each person you are buying a gift for, what that gift is, and how much it costs. If you are attending events or gatherings that require entrance fees, make sure to include that as well.

Having a comprehensive list of gifts and amounts will help you avoid impulsive decisions that could cost you more money. Be wary of marketing schemes and incentives that goad you to spend more than you intended.

Shop Early

Waiting until Christmas Eve to do your holiday shopping is never a good idea. But it’s an especially bad idea for your wallet. That’s because rushed shopping often leads to impulsive decisions, which will likely end up costing you more money. Give yourself enough time to browse deals and make online comparisons. Plenty of apps will allow you to compare prices at different stores.

Be Wary When Shopping Online

Shopping online comes with its own set of precautions. Here are a few of them.

Don’t Forget Sales Tax and Shipping

People tend to focus on the item’s price when ordering online and often forget that sales tax and shipping are calculated at checkout. Depending on the item, these added costs could drastically increase the price of the gift.

Is Everything Included?

Before you finalize your online order, make sure the item includes everything it normally would if you were to purchase it at a store. Businesses will sometimes ship items without accessories in order to cut their own costs or because those accessories are only supplied to stores.

Happy Careful Spending This Holiday Season

With these helpful tips to control over-spending this holiday season, gift shopping can be fun with little stress. Enjoy yourself, and have a happy holiday!

This article is for information, illustrative and entertainment purposes only and does not purport to show actual results. It is not, and should not be regarded as investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular investment action.

How to Reduce Stress During Holiday Travels

Personal Interest
The holidays usually conjure thoughts of warm, intimate times with family and friends. However, these thoughts typically overlook the journey to the destination. If you’re not hosting the holiday gathering, the odds are that you have to travel to get there. If that’s the case, it’s best to know what you’re up against. Anyone who has ...

The holidays usually conjure thoughts of warm, intimate times with family and friends. However, these thoughts typically overlook the journey to the destination. If you’re not hosting the holiday gathering, the odds are that you have to travel to get there. If that’s the case, it’s best to know what you’re up against.

Anyone who has ever traveled during the holidays knows how stressful it can be. From packing to organizing travel to the airport to flying, getting to your destination during the holidays can require an incredible amount of patience.

Fortunately, when it comes to holiday travel, a little planning goes a long way. So sit back, take a breath, and read these tips on how to reduce stress during your holiday travels.

Be Prepared

If you know you will be taking a long flight, download all of your favorite podcasts, music, and reading materials to your phone or tablet. Do this before leaving your house or apartment so you have time to select things that are of interest to you.

Having something to focus on will take a bit of the edge off during the flight. Even if you’re not flying, there’s nothing better for a long drive than a good podcast and catchy tunes.

If you’re traveling with children, things can be a little more complicated. However, the same rules apply. Having an activity bag with various games and toys that can keep them entertained will keep you and all the other passengers happy.

Book an Early Flight

Avoid potential delays by booking an early flight. Airport delays are more likely to occur as the day wears on, so flying early is a great way to ensure you actually get to your destination on time.

It will also give you an early start, so you have more of the day ahead of you. After all, you will probably sleep more restfully once you arrive at your destination and all that travel is behind you.

Book a Direct Flight

If possible, a direct flight is always the way to go. Nothing makes traveling more unpredictable than the dreaded layover. Fortunately, you can avoid them entirely by spending the extra cash to fly directly to your destination. If a layover is unavoidable, try to strategize so that you wind up somewhere relaxing.

Avoid Checked Bags

Checked bags increase the time spent at the airport and can lead to more unpredictability. If feasible, try to limit your travel items to a single carry-on. Doing this will enable you to walk right off the plane to your transportation without wasting valuable time waiting for a bag to drop.

Leave Early

One of the main reasons holiday travel is so stressful is the volume of people traveling at the same time. This is why it is always a good idea to leave early and give yourself plenty of time to get through security. And if you follow the other suggestions, you’ll have plenty to keep you entertained if you have more time than anticipated.

Have a Stress-Free Holiday

Now that you have some tips on eliminating the stress that comes with holiday travel, you’re ready for a fun-filled holiday season!