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 By Sylvia Lim CGA, CFP

Unload those unwanted Christmas gifts:

  • For a gift with receipt or gift card, a visit to the store for exchange or credit will suffice.
  • For a clothing gift with neither a receipt nor a gift card, check the label for possible store brands. All major brand name stores such as ROOTS or GAP will give a credit or provide exchange without the usual proof of purchase.
  • For gifts that are impossible to return, plan a gift exchange-pot luck party with close friends and relatives. Have fun and make it clear to everyone before the party to not take it personally if they spot their gifts (to others) in the exchange pile.

Time to use up the holiday leftovers:

  • Make stocks, stews, casseroles from the leftover turkey and ham. Be creative and use different seasonal vegetables and different types of pastas. Freeze in portioned containers to consume at a later time.
  • Freeze leftover Christmas baking. Microwave with a few drops of water will refresh staled baked goods.

Cut down your cigarette smoking:

  • If it’s difficult to quit cold turkey, try cutting back instead. Consciously limit your smoking to maybe 75% of your normal consumption, and gradually reduce the amount until you eliminate the habit altogether. Just think of all the money you’ll be saving. Cutting back just half a pack a day can save you about $2.50. That’s over $900 a year!

Exercise by walking off those unwanted pounds:

  • Start walking regularly to stay healthy and lose those extra holiday pounds. Brisk walking is good for the heart, gets you out into the fresh air, and there’s no membership fees!

More saving tips in “ Personal Budgeting Kit.

Find more saving and finance tips in Sylvia’s books–visit the Books page.

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