You’re running around. You’re spending money. You’re starting to feel that familiar holiday-stress, that slippery-slope feeling: not enough time, too much spending.

Your natural instinct is to double down on the hours of holiday preparation, grit your teeth and shell out the money even though it’s starting to feel out of control.

You’re not alone. Holidays are stressful and exhausting for many. This is especially true for women, who are, let’s face it, often the holiday-makers of the household.

 
 

I know – we should all be so lucky as to have family and friends and the good fortune to have worries such as, “I have too much to do and I’m spending too much money.” Yes, hectic holidays are not really something to complain about, exactly. But still…

Luckily, now there’s technology to help take the pressure off. If you live in the United States, here are three websites to tone down the stress in both arenas – time and money. Read on.

Giving Assistant – Cash Back on Your Purchases

Giving Assistant is a shopping portal where you can purchase products from nearly 3,000 stores. The list includes Saks Fifth Avenue, World Market, JC Penney, Harry & David, Express, Loft, The Vitamin Shoppe, Walmart, Home Depot, Macy’s and even Amazon, to name but a few.

All of the merchants on the site offer cash back to their online customers. At the site, you can apply coupon codes that they supply to you at checkout, and then either keep the cash back that you’ve earned, or donate all or part of that cash-back amount to a charity of your choice.

Log in and, if you wish, choose a charity to receive all or part of the cash back that you generate. Then shop as usual. Your shopping will save you money and/or give to your favorite charity.

Click-N-Ship – United States Postal Service Website

I’ve hardly ever been so thrilled about a helpful website as I was when I found Click-N-Ship on the US Postal service site.

As a mom with daughters who live far away, and as a daughter and daughter-in-law whose parents and in-laws also live in far-flung places, I find that during the holidays, shipping is a burdensome chore.

I have to buy boxes, look up everyone’s addresses, write them on the boxes, lug the boxes to the post office and stand in line with all the other harried folks.

Nope. I don’t have to do any of that anymore – I mean any of it. This website certainly qualifies for my Best Thing Since Sliced Bread category! By signing up for a free account at usps.com, I can go there to get:

  • Free flat-rate shipping boxes, which the postal service will deliver to me.
  • Free shipping label sleeves – again, delivered to me!
  • My own database where I can store names and addresses.
  • A program to access my stored addresses, compute postage and print a shipping label.
  • A discount on the shipping charges.
  • A pickup of my packages from my home on a date I specify.

MoviePass

I only recently heard about the MoviePass app, that gives you unlimited tickets to see movies in theaters, for a flat rate of $9.99 per month. Now, bear in mind, the “unlimited” applies to passes for you alone. No, you cannot get tickets for the whole family for your single $9.99 monthly payment.

But if you’ve got relatives visiting, and a couple of afternoons at the movies are a go-to activity that’s usually your treat, then heck, it’s worth it to buy a membership for each member of the family.

Even if you only attend two movies, you’ll save money by paying for your outings at a price that amounts to $5 per ticket for each loved one. You can always cancel the memberships after the holiday season. Or, consider giving prepaid memberships in MoviePass as gifts.

You can search their map by zip code to see what theaters in your area participate in the program; over 4,000 theaters nationwide do. Note: An iPhone or an Android phone is required to use MoviePass.

How do you feel about spending the time required to learn new processes or tools in order to save time or money in the long run? Worth it? Or too much trouble? Are there any other money- or time-saving websites or apps that you know about? Please share them here and join the conversation below!

Ann Voorhees BakerAnn Voorhees Baker is a writer, website designer and SEO and social media marketing specialist. She is also Founder and Organizer of Women At Woodstock. She produces two annual events – a workshop and a mastermind weekend for women over 50 and a writers retreat for women of all ages. Both are held in Woodstock, NY.

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