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The holiday season is generally a great source of stress for many people. Rather than feeling blessed and care-free, many of us are overwhelmed by trivial things from what to buy the co-worker we don’t even like to how we tell our children they just can’t have it all! If you’re already in debt, please don’t let the holidays make it worse! Trying to please everyone is not worth your sanity or the risk of taking more baggage into the New Year.

Here are 7 tips to spend less and erase the anxiety & stress of the holidays:

1. Get a plan together. Write down any and everything you can think of from where you plan on spending the holidays to who you plan on buying a gift for and what you want to get them. Make sure you put a dollar amount next to everything that needs to get done. Being clear and sticking to a predetermined plan will reduce your anxiety by getting a million ‘To Dos’ out of your head and on paper. You’ll also save money by staying focused and not buying impulsively.

2. Arrange travel accomodations early. As soon as you confirm that you’re definitely visiting family or friends out of town, begin pricing airline tickets and rental cars. The earlier you purchase, obviously the better. You may also want to consider taking the train to your destination. Trains are cheaper, less of a hassle and a lot nicer than many believe. Although they take much longer, you might be able to use the time to enjoy the scenery, settle yourself and get ready for your relatives!

3. Make something personal. Use your talents and skills to make one of a kind creations for the people you choose to bless with a gift. If you’re an artist, paint a personal masterpiece. If you’re a singer, make a CD for loved ones. If you’re an accountant, give someone a gift certificate to help them set up Quickbooks. Be comfortable with thinking outside the box and finding the gift that lies within you.

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