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6 Tips to Stay in the Black on Black Friday

It seems to happen every year that no matter what we budget, many of us get caught up in the holiday spirit and end up spending more money than we can really afford.

Sound familiar?

In a recent interview, Pamela Yellen, financial advisor and New York Times bestselling author, shared her insights into how to better prepare for effective holiday gift giving without binge spending - and the credit card stress that follows.

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When you take into consideration that the average holiday shopper spent $380.95 the weekend after Thanksgiving last year, and that total holiday spending across the U.S. for November and December totaled $616.1 billion according to the National Retail Federation, then perhaps the following tips should be taken to heart:

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Pay for Gifts with Cash: People paying with cash spend 20 percent less without feeling deprived, according to research by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

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Give Gift Cards:  If you find it difficult to stick to a budget, give gift cards and make something personal to go with them.

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Ask Yourself Why: Ask yourself why you want to buy something – whether it’s for yourself or as a gift. You may realize that you’re being manipulated into it by advertisements.

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The Gifts People Remember the Longest are Often Free: Think about what you might give that is free or low cost that would bring as much or more long-term pleasure. Consider an experience instead of “stuff” – a shared hike or a special home-cooked meal; or volunteer together at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter or nursing home and create a memory not long forgotten.

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Give Your Time:  Perhaps the most treasured gift is that of your time and talents. Individuals of all ages can use a little help with everyday projects from home repairs and yard work to computer training.

Remind Yourself of Your Goals: This helps you realize that every time you don’t spend money, you’re closer to reaching your goals – and diminishing your after holiday woes.