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Many Happy Returns? Picture this...It's bright and early on Christmas morning. Santa has left bright, shining new bikes with matching coordinated helmets for the children. The Christmas tree lights are glowing and soft, holiday music is playing in the background. (It really could be a scene from a movie!) As the excited children are inspecting the new bikes and preparing to take them outside for a "test drive", they attempt to put the helmets on and find that they are the ... Priceless One way or another, Christmas shopping will come to an end today. The last store will close; the last delivery truck will run; and the family gatherings will begin. As the shopping ends and the giving begins, the "damage" to your wallet will have been done. Before you start dealing with the financial fallout from your Christmas shopping, enjoy the next few days. There are LOTS of things about Christmas that are, truly, priceless! children's bikes and helmets - $175.00 ... We Spend What We Want to Spend! For several weeks, there have been lots of "doom and gloom" press reports regarding the state of the U.S. economy and consumers holiday spending...predictions of desperate retailers "hoping" that holiday sales will get and/or keep them in the "black" for the year; stories of mortgage troubles; evaluations of the subprime bailout; and laments of high gas prices. According to the media, these numbers all but guarantee consumers won't be able to spend what they want to ... Give Freely One of the worst things that can happen to a holiday budget is "last minute" shopping. As the number of shopping days dwindle, credit card balances grow! Despite the commercial emphasis that has become Christmas, you don't have to go to the extreme (like not giving gifts AT ALL) to give gifts within your budget. The gifts below are things you can give freely. Some of them are actually FREE and others are very close to it! If you ... 8 Great Money Gifts for Kids Money is a great gift for any occasion! It appeals to people of all ages and "fits" everyone. There are times, however, when giving money to young people can be a little bit tricky. Until kids are old enough to understand money, it may be better to give something other than "cold, hard cash". Even so, there are great ways to give money and money related items to children. These 8 ideas are excellent ways to share your generosity with ... Gift or Gaffe? Interesting Gift Card Facts On more Christmas mornings than not, everyone in my family opened a gift from my grandparents. It always contained a money holder envelope from the bank and crisp, new bills. Even though we knew the gift was coming, it was always fun to get it. It was free money and we could use it for whatever we wanted! Today, gift cards are the more common way to give "free money". Unfortunately, gift cards are not always "free" and they ... Setting a Holiday Budget For longer than I would like to admit, my holiday budgets have consisted of buying gifts now and figuring out how to pay for them later! I have always STARTED my holiday shopping with specific spending limits in mind but I have not stayed within those limits very well. Even the most disciplined and conscientious money managers can fall behind during the holiday season. Let's face it, the period between mid-November and the New Year is full of holiday ... Will YOUR Account Be “In The Black” on Friday? If you have managed to miss any of the "Black Friday" marketing efforts aimed at getting people in stores early and often on Friday, count yourself lucky! That is not to say that their are not some good deals to be had but at what cost - dealing with crowds, sitting in traffic, searching for parking? All so that RETAILERS can get THEIR accounts "in the black" before the end of the year. What about YOUR accounts? Who is ... It’s All Cash For Christmas! For the first time in our 10 year marriage, my husband and I will purchase all of our Christmas gifts this year with cash. There will not be any huge credit cards bills arriving in January and we will not have regrets about spending too much money (that we didn't really have to start with) on gifts that our friends and family don't really need. An "ALL CASH CHRISTMAS" is a goal that we have been working toward for a ... Go “Outside The Box” for Great Holiday Gifts Somewhere on almost every holiday shopping list, there is a name of someone that is difficult, if not impossible, to find appropriate gifts for. Maybe they already have "everything". Maybe they don't have hobbies or interests with associated gifts. For these people (and anyone else), a little creativity and imagination will go a long way when shopping for holiday gifts. Try these ideas for some great gifts that will definitely stay "outside the box"! GIVE YOUR TIME, SKILLS and/...