Surviving Chri$tma$: Give of your heart, time

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The spending forecasts and the sales figures are confirming what many of us sense in our gut: the weak economy may not put as many "high-dollar" presents under the Christmas tree this year.

Rachel Snider, and her sister-in-law Glenda, already have
begun their shopping at the Downtown West Target.

But they're running into challenges.

"I wrote it all down but I keep adding to my list, " says Glenda Snider.
"I married this year, so I added a whole other family!"

"I think $500 is the most I've spent on Christmas gifts," Rachel Snider says. " But that strapped me."

The owner of West Knoxville's "Men of Measure: Clothing for the BIg & Tall, knows well the temptation to find that certain gift for that certain person.

But, in his alter ego as a "money coach", Augie Barker preaches
the virtues of smaller spending, but larger giving, from the heart.

"The best 'things' in life aren't 'things,'" Mr. Barker says.

"And if you want to do some thing special or do something special for someone, it's time to think about other ways besides going out and blowing a bunch of money on stuff that a week or two after Christmas-- they'll forget about."

As a father of three children, now grown, Mr. Barker understands
the pull to make sure everybody you love most finds something under
the Christmas tree.

"I often tell parents that kids spell love T-I-M-E, " he says. "Some of the most creative ideas that I've seen people come up with for gifts, involve time-- like even a gift certificate for your time or doing errands for somebody--even hosting a dinner

Mr. Barker says he and his wife made sure their children learned how to budget, as they were growing up. His daughter served as her brother's banker, for the money they earned through after-school jobs.

"We buy with cash, and also we buy off-season tooo.
I think my wife starts a bit of her Christmas shopping the day after Christmas, for next year."

Rachel Snider tries to put away a portion of each paycheck throughout the year.

"Once you put all of that aside," she says, "then it's not such a shock when you try to get all the shopping done."

Her sister-in-law Glenda has searched advertising circulars and the internet to compare prices.

"That's why I drove all the way here (to the West Knoxville Target) from Sevierville," she says.

"Had to" are critical words, for the aunt and mother, of the most
critical member of this shopping party: Rachel Snider's two-year-old daugher Kiara.

"Everything goes to her," Rachel Snider says..

"As long as she's taken care of, that's all that matters."

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