Kansas State University


Powercat Financial

Tag: shopping

The Holidays are Right Around the Corner

With the holiday’s right around the corner, it is a good idea to get a jump-start on your holiday budget. Powercat Financial Counseling is here to assist if you are a first time budgeter, or if you need assistance with your current one. You can make an appointment any time by following this link: http://www.k-state.edu/pfc/. Also be sure to keep up with our events and tips by following us on twitter @KStatePFC.

To kick off the holiday season PFC hosted an event recently – Thrifty Gifting, to find out information regarding the shopping guide, holiday budget worksheet and the slide presentation follow http://www.k-state.edu/pfc/budgeting/.

The holidays seem to creep up and before we know it we are trying to buy gifts all within one week (we have all been there); which is not a good idea if you are on a tight budget. With no plan, or budget, gift giving can quickly get out of control and cause a lot of stress. Some people slip up on their budget during the holiday seasons because they believe they deserve a free pass during the holidays. Don’t fall into this pattern and create bad habits. To stay within the holiday bliss we would like to share some tips for the holiday season.

First things, first, create a budget

First you will need to sit down and make a list of all the people you may want to buy a gift for. How much you will spend on each person. You can either budget out per person, or take a percentage of your income for your total gift-giving budget. The difficult part will be sticking to it! Remember if you stick to the budget you will be less stressed and not feel guilty for over spending, equaling a joyful Holiday time!

Crafty and meaningful gifts

Giving gifts does not have to be all about how much money you spend on them. You can bring joy to others by being crafty with your gifts, bake, and draw or make a craft for a gift. Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that have a lot of meaning behind them. Suggestions might be framing a wonderful picture for the person that brings back memories of a day you shared.

Shop the sales

Shop the sales! This may not necessarily mean black Friday, shop online (try to find companies that offer free shipping and free returns). There are a lot of options for shopping online now, it may take more time than going to a store, but may save a lot more money in the long run.

Remember what the holidays are about

The holidays do not have to be all about gifts, the holidays are a time for building memories with your loved ones. If gift giving is not an option have a gathering, such as a potluck. With a potluck everyone can make a dish relieving pressure on one person, but allowing everyone to gather together.

Camila Haselwood
Peer Counselor II
Powercat Financial Counseling

Brewing Up a Challenge

Powercat Financial Counseling is giving away two Keurigs! To put your name in the drawing for the raffle, all you need to do is complete a 10-question online scavenger hunt. The answers can be found on our website, www.k-state.edu/pfc. The form was an attachment on an email sent out to the student body by Jodi Kaus on October 22nd. The completed forms are due by 5:00 PM on November 11th. To submit the form, you can either email it to powercatfinancial@ksu.edu or physically drop if off in Union Room 809 in the Office of Student Activities and Services.

The winner will be announced at our Thrifty Gifting event held on November 14th at 4:30 in the Flint Hills Room of the Union. Come have fun and learn about ways to save money during the holiday season while also getting the chance to win other prizes.

Do you really want to win that Keurig? You can increase your chances by earning additional entries into the drawing. Scheduling a counseling session and signing up for one of the websites that are linked on the PFC website each gives you a better chance to win. More details of the bonus entries can be found on the scavenger hunt form.

Good luck!

David Biggs
Peer Financial Counselor II
Powercat Financial Counseling

How to Save Money Through the Holidays

It can be so easy to overspend your hard-earned money over the holiday season. Of course you want to buy gifts for your friends and family, go out and catch up with friends you haven’t seen in awhile, and there are just so many sales that you can’t help but buy for yourself! Here are a few easy tips to keep in mind as we jump into the busiest time of the year:

  1. Make a budget. Before doing any shopping, decide how much money you can spend on gifts and who you need to buy gifts for. Just sit down and write down each person you need a gift for, then how much you would like to spend on each person without going over your total spending budget. The key is to stick to this list once you’re out shopping.
  2. Pay for all of your gifts in cash. This tip is similar to the envelope method of budgeting, for which you put a lump sum of cash in an envelope that is to be used just for gifts. Then once you spend that money, it’s gone – no more gift buying. This technique will help you from thinking your bank account is limitless or maxing out your credit cards.
  3. Try a gift exchange. Maybe you have several co-workers, roommates, or a large family, and trying to think of a gift for each individual person is difficult in itself, and it can become expensive for all of them. With a gift exchange, each person buys one gift for one other person in the group. This way, you only have to find one gift and won’t have to spend as much total. Gift exchanges can also be made into games, so it’s fun, too!
  4. Take advantage of coupons and sales. If you find a lot of really great deals on some of those gifts, you may have more of that total spending budget to reallocate or buy a few more smaller gifts in the end. Be sure to stick to your list at first, and don’t buy too many items for yourself just because they are on sale.
  5. Get crafty. So you have a tight budget, and buying a gift for all of the important people in your life is going to be financially impossible. Homemade gifts are the next big thing! In fact, people often enjoy homemade gifts more than store-bought gifts because they know that you put time and effort into making them. Make a scarf or jewelry, bake treats, or repurpose items around your house. The raw material needed and a little bit of your time can make a huge difference in how much you spend overall. Check out pinterest.com to get tons of do-it-yourself gift ideas.
  6. Lend a helping hand. If you aren’t feeling creative, give your time. Offer to babysit for your co-worker for an hour or two free of charge, spend some extra time playing a game with your younger sibling, clean the house for your parents, or rake leaves for your neighbor. People are so appreciative for having a little extra help during such a busy time of the year.
  7. Stay in. It can be very tempting to want to spend more money on entertainment through the holiday season since you’ll be meeting up with old friends or spending time with your family. Instead of going to the movies or eating out, try cooking at home and playing board games or renting a movie. You can also make a family affair out of decorating the house or wrapping presents together.

To find some of these tips and more, visit: http://www.betterbudgeting.com/articles/holidays/saveatchristmas.htm and http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/ways-to-save-during-holidays-1.aspx


Kelsey Darnell
Peer Financial Counselor I
Powercat Financial Counseling

Thrifty Gifting

The holidays can be a joyous time full of family, food, and gifts.  During this exciting time, it is important to keep a close eye on your spending.  On November 13th, Powercat Financial Counseling hosted the event Thrifty Giving to help K-State students manage their money during this potentially stressful season.  Listed below were some key tips mentioned at the event to help students stay within their means during the holidays.

Plan Ahead:

  • Set aside money each month that will go specifically towards those holiday gifts.  It can be very stressful to have a list full of gifts but not the money to buy them. Planning ahead and saving will allow you to relax because the money will already be saved up.
  • Staggering purchases throughout the year spreads out your spending and can make purchases more manageable.  Also, gifts may not always be the cheapest during the famous Black Friday Sales.  Monitoring prices of gifts you are interested in can help you get them cheaper than during the holiday season.

Get Organized:

  • Have an idea of who you will be buying gifts for and create a detailed shopping list according to the money you have saved.
  • Create a holiday budget and stick to it!!!

Be Creative:

  • To shorten your gift list suggest a gift exchange with your family or friends.
  • Big family dinners can be stressful, especially for the host.  Potlucks are a great way to spread the responsibility and costs around.
  • If your holiday plans involve traveling it is best to book as early as possible.  Airline tickets get more expensive as the holidays get closer.  Also, try to be flexible.  Instead of departing on a Friday consider Thursday.  Flights over the weekend tend to be more expensive.
  • The Holidays are a great time to use your Pinterest Boards!!!  Homemade gifts are so thoughtful!

Shopping Warning:

Consumers need to be careful with department store credit cards.  During the holiday shopping season stores often offer a percentage off your total purchase if you open a credit card account with them.  Shoppers may do this at every store they visit with the intentions of cancelling the credit cards once the transactions are complete.  This allows you to save money in the short-term; however, we discourage this tactic because doing this can actually decrease your credit score.

In addition to the helpful information discussed, participants also enjoyed an evening full of apple cider, delicious desserts, and prizes.  Students battled for country stampede tickets, holiday food baskets, and much more during games of holiday-themed family feud.   This fun event was just the thing to get students prepared for the exciting holidays ahead.  If you would like more information about how to cut spending and stress during the holiday season, you can make an appointment with Powercat Financial Counseling at www.k-state.edu/pfc.

Heather Gibson
Peer Counselor I
Powercat Financial Counseling