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Spend mindfully and live with less stress

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Jennifer Zabel is making her list and checking it twice.

”My husband gets a budget together for us and says you have this much,” she said. “Allot each person what you see fit.”

Lots of families are stretching their holiday budget.

“I use whatever I have in the bank and, once that's gone, that's it,” said Bonnie Harrison.

Amy Welch is Director of Communications for the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants.

She said, if you're dealing with financial stress right now, the best thing you can do is be honest with yourself and your loved ones.

“Say ‘We're going to do a $10 limit,’” Welch said. “Even though that sounds like a tiny amount, they're only saying that's all you can spend. They're not saying that's all you can give.”

Welch recommends practicing mindful spending in order to avoid the post-holiday blues, like receiving that dreaded credit card statement.

“Know what you plan to spend, [and] know what you're overall spending limit is for that day,” she said. “Then, step 2 is to write down every person you plan to buy a gift for, [and] write down every single person you plan to buy a gift for and then maybe how much you plan to spend.”

Besides shopping with a plan, it pays to keep a daily money journal and, whatever you do, avoid payday loans.

“I know they are there for a reason, and they do help people in emergency situations, however that should be the very, very, very last resort,” Welch said. “The reason why is because some of their fees can range in 400 percent.”

Using cash or a prepaid debit card is your best option. 

The holidays are meant to be cheerful.

Don't overthink your gift buying.

“A good guideline someone told me is something to wear, something to read, something you need and keep it simple,” Jennifer said.

OSCPA: Download your free Financial Fitness Kit.

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