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thThe concept of a “spending freeze” pops up every so often in the personal finance blogosphere. January is prime time for this tactic, given the joyful excesses of the holiday season.

Spending freezes have been announced at a couple of blogs I follow, Jana Says and The Frugalwoods. They’re slightly different: Mrs. Frugalwoods wants to help you “restructure your frugal mindset,” while Jana invites us to join her as she learns “to start paying attention again.”

While leaving a comment on Jana’s post I used the phrase “hypothermia of the budget.” That’s where DF and I are this January, and probably for the next six months. Or maybe longer.

 


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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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thAlmost seven in 10 people surveyed by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling say their biggest financial worry is credit card debt.

Of the 1,869 respondents, 69 percent cited plastic arrears as being much, much scarier than having enough for retirement and emergencies (13 percent), paying off student loans (10 percent) or finding affordable housing (7 percent).

About 19 people checked answer E: “Nothing, I have no financial worries.” Lucky them.

It’s likely that most of the people reading the nonprofit agency’s website are already having money issues. But it wouldn’t surprise me if a decent number of the general population were also worried about credit card debt. And if they aren’t, maybe they should be.

 


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Cards and consequences.

th-1(I’ve decided to re-publish articles now and again in honor of what the kids call Throwback Thursday. Enjoy.)

On Tuesday I participated in a TweetChat sponsored by Ally Bank, on the topic of “teaching kids the value of money.” One of the responses from another participant frankly startled me.

The question: “When is the right time to talk to your children about credit card debt?”

The answer: “I’d say when they have their own card (and a real sense of consequences), most likely as a freshman in college.”

After picking my jaw up off the kitchen table, I sent out this response: “Waiting till they have their own card is like waiting til daughter gets pregnant to say, “Don’t misuse that thing, y’hear?”

 


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