UNITED STATES—We have talked a lot about the holidays in recent weeks, but with that said, the one thing we have not talked about is finances and it is time we chat about it before 2022 comes to an end. Why? A lot of people find themselves breaking the bank and going into serious debt around the holidays. Why? They simply spend more than they can afford and it is to please others not realizing sometimes you just need to do the best that you can do.

Thanksgiving is a tough one for many people as plenty of money is spent on food, however, Christmas is a killer because Americans spend so much money on gift giving I don’t know where to start. Here is the first and most important piece of advice: if you don’t have it you don’t have it. Do not break your back or do more than what you can do to try to please people for Christmas. You do what you can with the money that you have and let it be. So many of us get caught up in the materialistic realm and forget that at the end of the day they are just things. We cannot take those things with us when we die.

So you can still purchase nice gifts for people without breaking the bank, so don’t feel compelled to do so. If your budget is $500 stay within that budget and place a price cap on each person on your list. Don’t go beyond that cap unless you have a little cushion along the way. There is no need to feel to buy for every single person you know. You purchase gifts for those immediate people in your household or closet to you.

I for one used to be one that went way overboard trying to get gifts for almost every single person in my family. Guess what about 75 percent of those people who I purchased gifts for didn’t get me a single thing. That is not me saying you should expect to receive something from everyone that you purchase gifts for, but honestly speaking, if you barely see those individuals, why do you feel the need to go all out? That is just it, you don’t have to so don’t and do not feel guilty about it.

Look for sales anytime possible. Many retailers do quite a bit of door buster and last minute sales leading up to Xmas. What does that mean? You can sometimes get deals when you least expect them. I’ll give you a prime example, I purchased an item for one of my parents. The item literally went on sale the following day and I then receive a coupon to save even more money. So what did I decide to do? I repurchased the item at the discounted rate and utilized my coupon at the same time and I saved almost $30. So I plan to return the item to get my money back. Don’t feel bad to return an item that is why you have a return policy, but don’t abuse it at the same time.

If it is something you do not want, do not purchase the item that has always been my item. In addition, if you don’t have the funds for the item do not place it on the credit card. Let’s talk about the credit card which tends to get a LOT OF PEOPLE IN MAJOR TROUBLE! Remember credit is money you do not have and you have to pay it back. If you know you’re going to have trouble paying that credit card back, do not swipe it. Do your best to utilize cash when all possible. You’re more inclined to be cautious about what you spend, where you spend it, and why you’re spending it especially around the holidays. Why? It forces you to ask two questions: 1) Do I need the item? 2) What am I going to utilize the item for?

If you cannot answer those questions without solid conviction you have your answer people. Make a list, make a budget and stick to it. I know it seems simple and in all honesty it is America. Don’t allow the pressure of Christmas to get the best of you, maintain the control because you control your financial future. Don’t make decisions that will lead to more stress as we start a New Year because a holiday is not worth it. Owen was under the impression that if he could defeat Jesse in fire he could win the game, but I’m not so certain about that. He’s being a bit cocky yet again and it might cost him.

Written By Zoe Mitchell