Featured Image Everyone knows that the kick off to the holidays start on Thanksgiving. It’s a time to sit back, relax, watch football, cook with family and be thankful for another year. But can you keep from cleaning out your checkbook while cleaning your plate? Once Thanksgiving Thursday comes to a close, many people start to wonder if they can afford the latest trend or gadget. It can be fun to frantically look for the next great deal. But it can also be overwhelming when you are watching your budget. Here are 3 simple tips to make sure that you don’t break the bank and also have an enjoyable shopping experience: Do your Homework Create a shopping list and know your budget. Around the holidays, especially, retail stores put a lot of effort into their décor and store design. The most expensive items are strategically placed to attract your eye throughout the store. Limit your Time Use your list and designate a shopping time frame. Use a store map to minimize time spent circulating. The longer that you stay in the store, the more likely you are to buy something impulsively. This is also true for cyber Monday. Make sure that you do not just randomly browse the Internet. Lists will save you not only time but money. Use Cash This is critical. Cash will help you control your spending and fend off temptations that you see. Keeping cards at home can help you stay within your budget and not be tempted to splurge. Besides, your monthly bills will still come around. The most wonderful holidays don’t create added stress or debt. Now, you have less on your plate and more in your checkbook! DeShonda O. DeShonda works as a Teller Manager here at VACU. Her passion has always been talking and writing. In her free time, she can be found doing anything from sitting back reading a good book to zip-lining with friends. Even though life is an adventure, she hopes to be able to share some nuggets that she has learned along the way. Other stories by DeShonda O.