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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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thI’ve been getting a bunch of holiday-themed press info lately: holiday spending, holiday hassles, holiday tips. Obviously I need to share it with readers.

Here’s a time-sensitive example: Erin Chase of the Grocery Budget Makeover website suggests that you might not want to shop for your Thanksgiving meal just yet.

Sure, all those displays look tempting and “sale” prices are being trumpeted. But they might not be the best prices of the season.

 


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thIt begins: Yesterday I bought my first stocking stuffers.

They were in the clearance bin, as stocking stuffers often are: a trio of Crayola scented markers for 17 cents apiece. The markers will go to a flamboyant young relative who’s all about creativity; at age 9, the dude is using YouTube to learn how to knit an infinity scarf.

In years past I’ve hit post-holiday sales to buy the next year’s holiday gifts and even some items for the house. This year I’ve been curiously inert when it comes to bargain-hunting.

The Crayolas may have gotten me off my own mark, however, since I’ve begun to notice yard-sale signs. 

 


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thFor at least 17 years I’ve been picking up change and saving it until Thanksgiving, at which point I donate it to the Food Bank of Alaska.

This year’s count-up was late, on purpose. I decided to wait until January because giving tends to slow way down right after the holidays. (Apparently people are hungry only from Thanksgiving until Christmas.)

Here’s what I accumulated between last November and yesterday:

  • 21 quarters
  • 62 dimes
  • 25 nickels
  • 157 pennies

A typical year’s take is usually no more than $20 and no less than $12, so $14.27 isn’t too bad. Notably absent this year was any denomination of paper money, which could mean that people are being more careful with their cash. Or maybe it means that another scavenger got there first.

 


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thJust got a press release from a company suggesting “fun and affordable” stocking stuffers. What got my attention was how it defines “affordable”: items under $50.

Um…no. I don’t spend $50 altogether on the stuffers for five stockings. In fact, I generally don’t spend anything at all (more on that in a minute).

On what non-frugal planet is “under $50” considered a low price for a small item? And when did stocking stuffers graduate from candy canes and stickers to things like $50 iTunes cards, Sharper Image six-port USB charging hubs ($29.98) and $30 bottles of perfume?

Little things mean a lot, but they shouldn’t have to cost a lot. Thus I refuse to pay a lot. Here are some ways to save.

 


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