Keep holiday spending in check

Amy Thompson

The holidays are hard for everyone: the odd uncle who seems to be drunk at every family occasion, the baby sister that loves to cry and the awkward second cousin. Another thing that makes the holidays hectic is thinking about gifts. What to get, what to give and — worst of all — how are you going to afford all of it?

Generally the answer would be, it’s the thought that matters. Well, that’s at least what most mothers would say.

Write it

You can get away with really cheap gifts for the holidays, such as a letter or something homemade. Because you are in college, you most likely will be able to use that as an excuse, but a free gift idea is a letter.

Send a letter to friends and family, updating them on all that has been going on in your life. Share some stories that have happened to you throughout the year, or how your classes are going. For the friends that you haven’t talked to in awhile, it should be a treat just hearing from you.

Craft it

If you have some money to spend but still don’t want to break the bank, there are classes at the Workspace where you make gifts, such as bead-making, spoon jewelry, glass etching, etc. Baking is also an option for the tight budget.

“I have made stuff at the workshop before, and it is really convenient and cheap. Not to mention that people think you put a lot of effort into the artwork, when really it took a couple of nights,” said Carolyn Ries, junior in genetics.

Plan it

Doug Borkowski, lecturer of human development and family studies and the man who sends you weekly financial tips, says to know your budget.

“Get organized and know how much you can actually afford to spend. This is making a budget and sticking to it,” Borkowski said.

Borkowski was also adamant on not using credit cards.

“If a credit card is used, it seems like for many it is too easy to overspend. It is not the same as spending cash. It is too easy to just swipe the card and lose track of the amount spent,” he said.

Borkowski’s parting advice was to save. That way you won’t have to use plastic or scramble on Christmas Eve to get your presents together.