imagesI put a card on DF’s coffee cup this morning, even though we’d agreed to opt out of the Valentine’s Day hoopla.

“It’s a frugal card,” I assured him. “Hallmark sent it to me.”

Seriously: I’m a member of the company’s Gold Crown loyalty programs, and Hallmark recently mailed both a love-you card and a birthday card. I was supposed to have had them scanned at the store to earn extra points, but I keep forgetting to do that.

After two years of living together, DF and I still “delight in each other’s company,” as he puts it.

Do we ever. Whenever he walks into the room my heart still does a funny little dance, not unlike the kind you see in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

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thThat is, it will cost more if you’re an “average” consumer. According to the National Retail Federation, the tab will run $142.31.

That’s $8.40 more than last year, and a lot more than we plan to shell out. How about you?

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thA recent survey from Consumer Reports noted that 75 percent of shoppers had paid off their 2013 holiday purchases by the end of February 2014. However, some were still paying for their celebrations in late November, i.e., almost a year after the fact.

True, that was just 7 percent of respondents. Still disturbing, though. Then again, I find it unfortunate that it takes some people two full months to pay the tab in full.

Afraid to open the January credit card bills? Personal finance author Donna Skeels Cygan calls this a “holiday hangover,” i.e., the lingering pain of overindulgence.

This kind of hangover isn’t one “you can simply sleep off,” says the author of author of “The Joy of Financial Security: The Art and Science of Becoming Happier, Managing Your Money Wisely, and Creating a Secure Financial Future.”

In this case, the hair of the dog is twofold:

  • Owning any mistakes you made this year, and
  • Learning from them.

Here’s how.

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thRecently someone contacted Stacy Johnson of Money Talks News to ask for articles on non-costly ways to give back to the community. That assignment wound up in my lap, resulting in “You don’t need to be rich to lend a helping hand: 42 free or cheap ways to give.”

Researching it was fairly simple, because I do a lot of this stuff myself and also take inspiration from readers’ examples. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that giving is the perfect antidote to the midwinter blahs.

Here’s why.

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thThey say that the way you start the year is the way you’ll live it. If that’s true, then DF and I are up for plenty of luck, love and frugality in 2015.

Plenty of sleep, too: The only way we knew it was midnight was that some of our neighbors started setting off illegal fireworks.

Here’s how those four things shook down:

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