Page 16 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • December 9, 2009 (ARA) The holidays are a time to celebrate. But sometimes it’s challenging to spend and celebrate on a budget, especially when it’s the season of giving. Now is a good time to switch your holiday shopping strategies and resolve to improve your money management skills through the New Year. To avoid stress and excess spending, more than half of American households set their 2009 holiday budget over the summer, according to the Western Union Global Business Payments Money Mindset Index. One-third of consumers are shopping for holiday gifts early, and more than half are hoping those early sales offer the best prices. “As consumers celebrate the holidays with friends and family, even small budget cutbacks can be a big step toward alleviating stress,” said David Shapiro, senior vice president of Western Union Global Business Payments. “Consumers can reduce holiday stress, increase their financial confidence and improve their bill payment strategies well into the New Year if they start planning their budgets now.” While consumers are focused on managing their bill payments, saving cash and controlling holiday spending, they are also looking ahead to their financial goals in 2010 with an optimistic attitude. Only 23 percent expect their challenging financial situations to deteriorate in the next six months, down from 36 percent in the first quarter of the year. Almost everyone strays from his or her goals once in a while. But the New Year is the ideal time to rethink strategy. According to the Index, here are the top financial-themed New Year’s resolutions that consumers are planning to make in 2010, along with recommendations from Western Union to help consumers realize them: Avoid late fees. At the beginning of each month, sit down and figure out when you need to pay each bill to Holiday shopping strategies help ring in the New Year avoid late fees. Put the date you need to pay each bill into your calendar so you don’t forget. If you think a payment won’t arrive in time through the mail, consider same-day payments. Many billers offer this option online, in person, or over the phone. Save more money out of each paycheck. Determine a set amount of money each month that you can set aside. Ask your employer to make a direct deposit for this amount from your paycheck to your savings account. Pay bills online or automatically. Set up recurring pay- ������������������ ments for monthly bills. Many billers offer e-mail or text message notifications that remind you when your payment will be withdrawn from your account. Reprioritize how bill payments get paid. Contact billers and ask to restructure your due dates according to when you are paid, so you can manage your cash flow better, avoid late fees, and negative credit reporting. With a little prioritizing, reorganizing of your bill payments and some money management resolutions, you can ring in the New Year with more financial confidence. With hundreds of photo gifts to choose from at Wholesale Photo Café, shoppers are guaranteed to find the perfect gift for everyone on their lists. Here are the top picks: 4x4 Flip Book. The perfect stocking stuffer. Create a Flip Book for grandma with pictures of her grandchildren. She will proudly carry it in her purse throughout the New Year. Notepad. Say good-bye to ho-hum to-do lists. Put your favorite photo on a notepad and you have the perfect Secret Santa gift. Photo album. Complete the gift of a photo album by providing a gift certificate for 4x6 prints to fill it. Photo book. Start a new tradition: Memorialize the year for your family and friends by creating year-in-review photo books. Don’t forget to order one for yourself. DVD Cinema. Showcase your favorite photos at your next get-together by creating a DVD slideshow starring your guest or guests of honor. Animated DVD. What is better for a toddler than a new DVD? A DVD featuring the child him or herself! Holiday photo gifts: Top picks for 2009 Just bring in a photo and what your child become the star of the show. Collage poster. Finally, a gift your college student will appreciate. Create a collage poster – or a gift certificate to do so – to adorn the dorm room wall next semester. Calendar. Relive your favorite memories all 12 months of the year with a personalized photo calendar. Note cards. Show how thankful you are by making your next thank you note a customized note car with a photo of you and the gift-giver. Grocery tote. Help the environment and show off your favorite photo at the same time. Eliminate wasteful plastic and paper bags by using a custom photo canvas tote to carry your groceries. Remember the trimmings. Add a personalized, folded card and custom photo wrapping paper for the perfect finishing touch. Happy holidays from the Wholesale Photo Café. For more ideas and inspiration, visit or stop by the store at the Midland Park Shopping Center, 85 Godwin Avenue, Midland Park. Phone (201) 444-0777. Waldwick Prime Meats All Homemade, No Additives or Preservatives “Ready ” All Natural Cornish Hens 99 with Sausage Stuffing ....... $3 lb. to Cook “Ready ” to Cook “Ready ” to Cook Oven Breaded Pork Chops Perfect-Easy-Tender .......... $5 99 lb. Homemade Regular or Turkey Meatloaf ............. $599lb. ��������� �������������������������� ������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������� ��������������������� ������������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������������� ���������������������� ��������������� �������������������� ������������������������������������� Call early and let’s plan a special gourment centerpiece for any budget. Now Taking Holiday Orders Center Court Plaza Mall • 10 Franklin Tpke, Waldwick, NJ (Next to Matthews Diner) If it’s not from Emilio’s, you’re settling for second best. 201-447-3340 �������������� ����������������������������������� ���������������������������� �������������� �������������� ������������ �������������������� �����������