10 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress on you and your Wallet.

1. Budget—It may sound cliché, but many people don’t set holiday spending budgets or only use budgets as rough spending guidelines. Staying with your budget is the best thing you can do to minimize stress.

2. Use Rewards—The holidays are a perfect time to cash in your credit card rewards to purchase gifts or travel.

3. Don’t Cram—You know that cramming for tests never works, same goes for holiday shopping. If you wait until the last minute, or even if you shop early, trying to do it all in one day creates stress.

4. Make a List—Take a tip from that guy who lives up north and wears a red suit and white beard. Know what you’re looking for and make a prioritized list, then like your budget—stick to it.

5. Take Cash—Leave the card at home and withdraw a predetermined amount of cash for holiday spending.

6. Start a Holiday—This is probably something you think about every December, but by the time January rolls around, you’ve forgotten. So this year start your 2013 Holiday Fund before the end of 2012.

7. Teacher Gifts—Suggest families contribute to a collective class gift. Each family only needs to gives about $5 for the teacher who will receive a sizable and practical gift. Remember many teachers cannot accept gifts over $25, but you could split up the collection into several gift cards.

8. Extended Family–Instead of buying a gift for each person, suggest a gift exchange. Rather than spending $5 to $10 on 15 different people ($75-$150), you can spend $50 on a nice gift for one person.

9. Friends—If you exchange gifts among friends, suggest you skip the gifts and instead get together for lunch or dessert.

10. Coupon Codes—If you buy anything online, always do a search for current coupon codes that can knock down your price. When in doubt, a popular online website that you can look at is RetailMeNot, which claims to have coupon codes for over 40,000 online retailers.

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