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Old 12-02-2008, 05:41 PM
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Default Tight holiday budgets spark guilty feelings

The busy holiday shopping season officially gets under way later this week. But what if your budget is tighter this year and you canít afford to buy more than the basic necessities?
Psychiatrist Patrice Harris from Atlanta, Georgia, has some ideas for those who are used to opening up their wallets during holidays and may feel bad about scaling back.

1) Lower your expectations. Itís not necessary to have the perfect tree and decorations. You donít have to spend a lot of money to have a nice holiday season.
2) Re-focus or re-frame. Take a fresh look at what the holidays mean to you and your family. Consider giving back by volunteering your time or donating used toys to a homeless shelter.
3) Scale back. Instead of giving everyone in your family or office a present, draw names or give a homemade baked good.
4) De-stress. Find ways to relax. Get enough sleep and exercise. Watch what you eat and drink.
With that kind of resolve, Harris says youíll relieve not just emotional stress, but stress on your wallet.
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