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Welcome to the New Leaf Financial Counseling Newsletter

Money problems are, of course, always about money, but often they are not only about money... they are about many other areas of life: work, relationships, dreams, even our spiritual life. This newsletter is dedicated to you -- who want to turn over a new leaf in your relationship with money and begin a new life where money is in balance with all other aspects of your life.

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Book of the month: "Debt Proof Your Holidays", by Mary Hunt, published in 1998 by Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee.

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Feature Article: Avoiding the January Spending Hangover

Did you wake up last year with a post-holiday spending hangover? You know what I mean – come January when all the gifts are opened and the parties are over, the credit card bills begin to arrive. Sadly, it takes the average American who uses credit cards to finance Christmas six to seven months to pay off the holidays. (Many families I know use their tax refunds in May to pay off the last of the holiday bills. Do you?)

No matter how hard they work to control spending and credit card use the rest of the year, many people rely on credit cards to generate the type of holiday they and their families have come to expect. They let obligation and even guilt drive them to spend way more than they can afford.

To avoid that January spending hangover, consider this: At the root of most post-holiday debt are unrealistic expectations and lack of planning – and there’s still time to address both... Read the full article.

Money Tool of the Month: Getting in touch with your values

What is really important to you about the holidays? What are you celebrating? Why are you celebrating?

Being clear about our values helps give direction to our decisions about how we spend our time and our money. This is true all year long, but especially during the holiday season. When was the last time you sat back and really considered what you value, what’s really important to you? Have you ever asked your spouse, or your children?

The holidays are an ideal time to ask these questions and reflect on your responses; while it is a very busy time of year, we are also naturally drawn to being more spiritual, to being more receptive to pondering these questions, if only we will give ourselves the time to do so. Read the full article