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This week: How to get your credit ready for the holidays, how to simplify Christmas season, how to save on your wedding reception, why your fixed mortgage payment may vary and why your co-workers may not like you.

1. How to Get Your Credit Ready for Holiday Shopping

[Credit.com] “Beware: all of that holiday shopping can take a toll on your credit score. It doesn’t have to, however. A little financial planning can allow you to increase your spending without damaging your credit in the process.

This article suggests you get ready for your holiday buying binge by doing things like checking your credit score, having your credit limits raised (not to buy more, but to keep your credit score steady), paying down existing debt, creating a budget and more.

2. 7 Things You Can Do Now for a Simpler Christmas

[The Dollar Stretcher] “Every year do you wish for a less stressful holiday season? This year, don’t just dream about a simpler Christmas. Make it a reality by taking action. Consider these positive steps you can take to ensure a less hectic, more meaningful Christmas celebration.”

Talk about hitting the nail on the head. I swear every year I’m going to take the stress out of the holidays but have yet to succeed. Maybe I should try some of the techniques suggested here, such as shopping early, filling the freezer, planning menus and deciding what to do and what to skip. See the post for more.

3. We’re Saving $11,650 by Throwing Our Reception Months After Our Wedding

[The Penny Hoarder] “We wanted a distinctive, memorable atmosphere where our friends and family could meet each other, share laughs and end the night with sore feet from dancing. The trouble was the cost.”

We’ve done many stories about saving on weddings, but separating the reception from the wedding by months is something I’ve never seen suggested. How does it save? By using a technique we have suggested: calling the celebration a party rather than a reception. Yes, it’s true: Venues tend to charge more for weddings simply because they apparently can. This is one way around that ridiculous rip-off, and it’s a good way. Check out the article for more.

4. 4 Ways Your House Payment Could Unexpectedly Go Up

[Debt.com] “If you have a fixed-rate mortgage, it might seem like your payment would stay the same. A stable payment might even be one reason you decided to buy rather than rent. So, when you get a notice that your payment is going up, what could be the reason?”

While technically a fixed mortgage means your payments can’t go up, the fact that other expenses are often rolled into your monthly mortgage means higher payments are possible. This story offers four examples: increasing real estate taxes, higher insurance premiums, a higher escrow payment requirement and taking out a line of credit.

5. 6 Reasons Your Co-Workers Think You’re a Slacker

[Wise Bread] “If you’ve been slacking, your co-workers have probably noticed. Are you guilty of any of these slack-tastic tells?”

Although these days I rarely take an extended break at work, primarily because I work alone most of the time, there were times in the past when I could have been accused of being a slacker. What was I doing? According to this article, tells might have included coming in late and leaving early, spending too much time on nonwork related stuff and delegating too much work to subordinates. See the post for more.

Stacy Johnson

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Read Next: Ask Stacy: What Can I Do About My Student Loan Debt?

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