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The Money Minute - November 2011


In this Issue 


The Holiday Countdown Begins

Ready or not, the holiday season is fast approaching. Are you prepared for the extra food, travel, entertainment and gift expenses? Apprisen has some great tips and a Holiday Spending Guide to help you make good decisions.

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Buying Toys Can Be a Serious Business

We all like to see a child’s eyes light up when we give them a new toy or game. How do you know that your gift will bring years of valuable play and excitement for a special boy or girl in your life? Apprisen has a new guide for buying toys and helps you keep an eye on safety and value.

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Pay With Cash!

That was the overwhelming response to last month’s poll question, “How will you pay for the holidays?” A whopping sixty-nine percent said that they will be using cash this holiday season.To find out how others will be paying for the holidays this year, take a look at the rest of our poll results.

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Thanksgiving Dinner Shopping Tips

Now is the time to plan for your Thanksgiving holiday dinner. We can provide you with steps to make the entire process a little easier.

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The Holiday Countdown Begins

Ready or not, the holiday season is fast approaching. Are you prepared for the extra food, travel, entertainment and gift expenses?  It’s not too late to create a plan to help you get and stay on track with your holiday spending.  Consider the following strategies for spreading holiday cheer without spreading yourself financially thin. 

  • Create your holiday budget. Don’t forget to include food, postage or other incidentals in your plan
    Set your priorities.  With only a limited amount of money available, make sure you focus your spending on what is most important to you and your family.
  • Examine your current budget and look for a place or two to trim.  Take your lunch to work, cancel that gym membership you never use, or give yourself your own mani/pedi, and put the money you’re saving towards your holiday budget.
  • Your junk may be someone else’s treasure.  Consider selling your unwanted items on Craigslist or hold a garage sale.
  • If you worry about frittering away your newfound cash if it is left in your checking account, open a separate holiday account. You can then make regular deposits into this account year round and you will be ready to go next holiday season!
  • Are you a member of any loyalty reward programs?  Often, points accumulate in these programs and we forget to use them. 
  • Examine your statements to see if you have enough points you can redeem for merchandise, gift cards or magazine subscriptions.
  • Consider layaway.  Many retailers are offering this service as an alternative to putting goods on credit cards.  Layaway programs typically require a down payment and charge a small service fee for the convenience for this service.

Apprisen has created a Holiday Spending Guide to help you have no financial regrets this holiday season.  The guide will offer you tips and guide you through the process of creating a budget, minimizing unplanned spending, and making the most of the season while keeping your finances on track.

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Buying Toys Can Be a Serious Business

We all like to see a child’s eyes light up when we give them a new toy or game. The smile and hug that we receive in return is well worth the money that we paid to buy the gift. Giving the toy is often the best part of a birthday or holiday celebration. However, for some people, buying a toy can be a serious pursuit. How do you know if the toy you are buying is appropriate for the child?  How do you know that your gift will bring years of valuable play and excitement for the special boy or girl in your life? How do you know if they would even like it?

Apprisen Financial Advocates has created a Toy Buying Guide to answer these questions and help you choose the perfect gift for that special little one.

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Pay With Cash!!

That was the overwhelming response, sixty-nine percent, to last month’s poll question, “How will you pay for the holidays?”  This is a good thing.  According to a recent holiday poll conducted by Consumer Reports, 6 percent of Americans, around 14 million people, were still paying off their credit card purchases from the 2010 holidays.  But be careful; make sure you have a holiday budget in place so you know how much cash you can afford to spend.  Instead of using your debit card, or carrying cash, put the money you have set aside for the holidays on a pre-paid card.  That will keep you on track with your budget and perhaps, stop you from spending more then you intended. 

Lay-away has made a huge comeback and was the second most popular option in our holiday poll.  Sixteen percent of respondents preferred to make a small down payment on their purchase and then pay a little bit over time. The people who chose to use their holiday savings account, six percent, are doing the opposite.  Saving over time and then using the cash to make their purchase.

Not surprisingly, only five percent of respondents plan on using a credit card with some cash and four percent with a credit card only. According to the Consumer Report Holiday Poll, there is a trend away from credit-card usage.  Consumer who charged $1,000 or more shrank to sixteen percent in 2010 compared to twenty-three percent in 2009.

No matter how you plan on paying for this holiday season, have a plan so you don’t regret it come January.

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Thanksgiving Dinner Shopping Tips

The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are the perfect time to start planning for your big meal. According to, by making small decisions, such as making homemade pies or bread or roasting a fresh or frozen turkey, you can create a plan that will your shopping a lot less stressful.

Shopping Lists

Make a master shopping list and break it down into three sub-lists. Several trips to the market will make the overall chore more manageable.

  • List one: for shopping two or three weeks before Thanksgiving.
  • List two: for shopping the weekend before Thanksgiving.
  • List three: for shopping the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Organize the lists by category or supermarket aisle so that you aren't running all over the store. You can count on the stores to position holiday staples such as stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, and bags of pecans in strategic locations.

List One

Buy as many non-perishables as you can. These include non-edible items such as candles, coffee filters, cocktail napkins, paper towels and aluminum foil.

Buy flour, baking powder, sugar, coffee, cans of pumpkin puree and cranberry sauce, spices and frozen vegetables. Buy beverages now, such as mixers and soda. Replenish the liquor cabinet.
If you are buying a frozen turkey, buy it now to get the best selection.

List Two

This list will include foods such as stuffing mix, onions, squash, potatoes, garlic, lemons, limes, apples, cranberries and cheese, eggs, and cream. Don't forget juice, cider, beer, and wine.

List Three

This is the last-minute list for those foods that must be impeccably fresh. There should be only a few entries on this list, such as: the turkey (if it's fresh), milk, salad greens, green beans, seafood, fruit, bakery pies and rolls. Careful planning should mean that this list is short and sweet, and you will get in and out of the market quickly.

Before You Leave for the Market…

Clean out your kitchen shelves, refrigerator, and freezer. Discard half-eaten boxes of stale crackers, week-old tuna salad, and empty ice cream cartons. This way, when you unpack the groceries, there will be ample room to store them. There also will be room in the freezer for the turkey.

…And When You Return

Unpack the groceries as soon as you get home. Check them off the list.

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