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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  January 30, 2005
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Tips to Control Your Holiday Spending
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Holiday gift giving�so much fun to give� not so much fun paying the bills.

It is so easy to get caught up in the Holiday season�.the festivities, the lights, the food!! And then, of course, there�s the egg nog�all of which makes it just a little easier to say, �What the heck,� and buy this or that (or both this and that) for a loved one, all because of the excitement that come at the end of the year.

Then each January, millions of Americans begin to feel the pain (and regret) of their holiday extravagance as the credit card bills start rolling in. And each of those same Americans wonder, �How can I avoid this next time?� Some folks make an infamous New Year�s resolution to prepare for the coming holiday season. But preparation translates to budgeting, and the question of how to create a holiday budget has been a longstanding and seemingly daunting task for most people.

Here are some easy-to-follow ideas on how to keep your purse strings tight and still let your generosity and appreciation show!

LONG-TERM IDEAS - Only for those with the willpower and constancy to carry out a plan for 12 months�

LAST MINUTE SHOPPERS - For members of the incorrigible gang who run out to the mall on December 24 th in the hopes of finding that perfect momento�

WORK IDEAS - You see your co-workers more than you see your spouse or children. Feel obligated to get them something for the holidays? Make it a group offering and save those dollars for your real family�

KIDS - These little rascals can be the hardest to please � they are under a lot of pressure from their peers, plus they are highly influenced but the targeted ads on TV around the holidays. They all want everything, and you want to give it to them, so what do you do�?

Most of all, remember this�.it really IS the thought that counts. No one is under any obligation to give anything other than kindness all year long. Hopefully, any gifts you give are for those to whom you are closest, and for that matter, anyone who cares about you will not want you to go into debt just to fulfill a supposed gift-giving obligation. Be honest with yourself and your loved ones and do not ignore your limits.

In fact, one final gift which is appropriate for everyone and can mean the most is to write down for each individual on your list what you would give them if money was no object�.A Wish List! Think hard about the other person�s tastes and interest and personalize your ideas. This can wind up being the best gift of all!

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