The Ritter Report –December 2011
It’s hard to believe that the holidays are already here. The key is to enjoy the season and stay safe. Remember, it lasts more than a month and it doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful. I’ve put together some tips and suggestions that will hopefully help you during this special time of year. I want to wish you and your family and friends the happiest of holiday seasons.
CONSIDER TRAVEL OPTIONS. You do not always have to fly to see your friends and family. Consider taking the train, traveling by bus or even driving if you are able. If you are a senior, Amtrak and Greyhound offer you discounts.
STAY AT HOME AND SAVE. See if family and friends can come visit you this year. Or, if you typically take a vacation over the holidays, try looking for things to do closer to home. South Florida has many fun things to offer!
PRE-SHIP GIFTS. If you are traveling by plane, it might be a good idea. You will avoid additional airline fees. Shipping could be less expensive, plus it is less to carry with you – a good tip no matter how you decide to travel.
CHECK YOUR MEDICATIONS. No matter how you are traveling, double-check your pills. Make sure you have enough on hand for your entire trip. You might want to bring extra in case you get delayed returning home.
PACK YOUR SMILE! It is the best thing to bring and could come in handy if you need some help like changing your seat or stuffing your luggage into those upper bins on planes.
CREATE A LIST. Make a list of things you need to do to prepare for the holidays. Prioritize that list too, so you know what is most important to you. Remember, you might not get to the things at the bottom of your list.
TAKE YOUR TIME. Too much effort up front might leave you exhausted and irritable when it is time to do the things you really want to enjoy. Be sure to get enough rest. Take naps when possible.
EAT HEALTHY. There are too many opportunities over the holidays to overeat and eat the wrong things. Use common sense when indulging in rich foods. If you are not sure about your own judgment, pretend your doctor is sitting at the table with you. What would you eat in front of him or her?
STAY HEALTHY. Wash your hands often, even in your own home. Bring a small bottle of sanitizer with you for your hands whether you are shopping or traveling.
WATCH YOUR BUDGET. We all want to buy things for our kids, grandchildren, family members and friends, but you do not want to end up with big credit card bills. Remember, sometimes it’s not about the gift, but about the holiday tradition. Try baking cookies together or just spending time with each other.
SHOP SMART. Go out during daylight hours whenever possible and on weekdays when the malls are typically less crowded. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member and park in a well-lit area.
DRESS FOR COMFORT. Wear casual clothes and don’t wear a lot of jewelry.
PAY WITH A CARD. Do not carry a lot of cash, credit cards or debit cards. In fact, if you don’t need to carry your purse or wallet, don’t. Just keep your ID and your one credit or debit card in your front pocket.
CAREFUL AT THE ATM. If you need to use an ATM to get cash, visit machines in populated areas and try to use them only during daylight hours. If you see anyone lurking around the ATM, pass it up and find another one.
PROTECT YOUR VALUABLES. Fanny packs are a great alternative to a purse because they are kept so close to your body. Plus, both men and women can wear them. Keep cash in your front pocket.
PAY ATTENTION AT THE REGISTER. Watch to be sure your credit card is not swiped more than once in the store. Make sure the bill you sign matches the amount of your charge.
STOLEN CARDS. Notify your credit card issuer immediately if your card is lost or stolen. Be sure to keep a record of all your credit card numbers in a safe place at home, including the phone numbers to call if you have a problem. You can find that info on the back of each card.
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