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thGray Thursday is tomorrow and Black Friday is the day after that. Anyone without a specific plan runs the risk of blowing the budget and/or lying about it.

Ho, ho, no.

According to a survey from VitalSmarts, eight out of 10 people overdo it on Black Friday and 56 percent have a hard time talking about holiday spending with their spouses/partners.

Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, who founded the corporate training company, cite these common tactics for avoiding the discussion:

 


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thThis week you have a chance to win one of three copies of my book, and the opportunity for a free preview.

First, the giveaway: The lovely and talented J. Money, of Budgets Are Sexy and Rockstar Finance fame, is giving away three copies of “Your Playbook For Tough Times: Living Large On Small Change, For The Short Term Or The Long Haul.”

He’s doing this in three different places:

 


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The scent of home.

thMy partner treasures memories of visiting his grandmother, whose home smelled delicious. That’s why DF likes to have the scent of cookies baking when his granddaughter comes to visit. He wants her memories to be quite literally as sweet as his.

For the past two days our home has been grandchild-free but has smelled delicious nonetheless. We roasted a small turkey and canned most of it, simmered the bones for stock, cooked down the contents of a boiling bag, made a batch of zucchini cookies* for me to take to the potluck that precedes “The Walking Dead” at a local bar** and baked a ham (much of which DF parceled into bags for the freezer).

I’ve needed both the figurative and literal warmth of such a setting, since the light is going away, the temperature has been in the low teens, and the election season left me exhausted and depressed. Being in a warm, deliciously scented place with a man whom I adore has been an absolute tonic.

 


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The divine up-yours.

th(In honor of Throwback Thursday and the recent election, I’m putting this piece — originally published Nov. 3, 2010 — back out there.)

Last summer a relative told me that the only way to “protect” our border would be to allow the Border Patrol to shoot to kill. This eventually resulted in my writing an essay called “Who would Jesus strafe?

Initially, though, it resulted in disbelief and sorrow. I cried as I drove away because his heart was so hard and so bitter.

I needed to do something to cleanse myself of that kind of hatred. And that’s when I came up with my evil plan:

 


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Yep, holiday posts two days in a row and it’s not even Black Friday. Before you regard me as part of the problem, let me say that:

I always preach intentional spending during the holidays, and

I regularly suggest ways to spend intentionally, such as using cash-back shopping sites, buying early and paying with discounted gift cards.

Today I’m talking about a fourth intentional-spending category: rewards programs. In this case, that’s shopping through the Swagbucks rewards website.

Right now Swagbucks is offering heightened rewards for buying décor, gifts, special foods, airline tickets and other holiday-related items. A few examples of points (SBs) per dollar spent:


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