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Around the Home: Watch your weight, budget this holiday season
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If you’re concerned about adding holiday pounds during the next eight weeks, don’t worry. UGA Extension’s Zero Weight Gain Holiday Challenge offers tips and ideas to fit into your daily routine.

The free program begins Nov. 23 and features information on topics such as exercising safely, healthy snacking, modifying recipes and combating stress eating.

Plus, the website will feature seven new lower-calorie recipes.

So how can you join the 2014 challenge? If you signed up for the 2013 program, you’re still enrolled for this year.

New participants can enroll by visiting

Why not encourage your friends and family to join you?


Don’t get stressed out if you haven’t made any type of preparations on paper for the holiday season. You still have time to make a plan, manage time wisely and reduce stress. 

UGA Extension offers these holiday tips:

  • Include the following items in your monthly budget: parties, greeting cards, charitable giving, clothes to wear to holiday functions and other miscellaneous.
  • Develop a spending plan to avoid financial problems in 2015.
  • Limit your spending to the cash set aside for the season.
  • Design homemade gifts such as food, clothing or crafts. It may be appreciated more than something purchased.
  • Gifts of time for baby-sitting, car washing or house-cleaning may be well-received.
  • Think carefully about every purchase and keep your spending plan and shopping list in hand.
  • Take your time and think about your needs and your spending limits.
  • Examine factory seconds and irregulars carefully since the items have flaws or imperfections. Find the flaw and decide if it will make a difference.
  • Use ads to plan purchases. Once you decide on a particular item, compare features, quality, prices, charges for installation, delivery and service.
  • Conserve gasoline. Avoid running from store to store. Instead, use the phone and Internet to find information.
  • Shop online to locate special or unique gifts. Use a secure browser, shop with companies you know and keep passwords creative and private.
  • Pay particular attention to shipping charges. Ordering the desired item for direct shipment to the recipient is often cheaper.
  • Print out and keep records of your purchases.
  • Wait for last-minute price cuts for items not in short supply. The best deals may arrive late in the season.
  • Get the facts before you buy. Find out what is promised, who stands behind the promises and what you must do to benefit from any warranty.
  • Return a damaged purchase, one that did not provide reasonable wear or live up to the guarantee.

Sandra Stringer is a nutrition educator with the UGA Extension office in Hall County. Call her at 770-535-8290. Her column appears biweekly on Wednesdays and on

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