WSVN — We haven't made it through Thanksgiving yet but the signs are everywhere. The holiday season is upon us!

Yasiel Sanchez: “I want this!” 

And the kids already know what they want.

Yasiel Sanchez: “A lego game for my Xbox, a 3-wheeled scooter and a iPod.”

Like most parents, Yanet Sanchez wants to give her kids everything they want.

Yasiel Sanchez: “Oh, and I want the iPad new one, Air.”

She admits saying no can be tough but sometimes necessary.

Yanet Obarrio Sanchez: “The kids can not expect they can get whatever they want because they got straight A's or they behaved well in school.”

Financial coach Benny Salas says parents tend to over-extend themselves financially this time of year winding up in a hole after the holidays.

Benny Salas of United Way Center for Financial Stability: “Now what we're saying is we're willing to take on other bills to make others happy.”

That's why he says it's really important for parents to have a plan in place.

Benny Salas: “Having really thought through what are your objectives during the holiday season because it is a very pressing time.”

His first tip, have the end goal in mind.

Benny Salas: “How much are you going to spend for the holiday season?”

Yanet Obarrio Sanchez: “Of course my kids get a bigger chunk of the budget and then all the little cousins get $10, $15 each.”

Next, Benny says have a set plan and be creative.

Benny Salas: “It isn't so much how much you spend on a person's gift, as much as how meaningful that gift is to you when you give it to them.”

Yanet likes to have the kids fill mugs with tasty treats, a great gift idea for their teachers.

Yanet Obarrio Sanchez: “You personalize it with some chocolates, with some pretty cookies or candy.”

And Benny says especially with kids, set realistic expectations.

Benny Salas: “How do you set realistic expectations around gifts that mean something, that have value, that create memories?”

One of the Sanchez family's holiday traditions not only saves them money but also brings them closer together.

Yanet Obarrio Sanchez: “You want to do a Christmas tree?”

They make their own wrapping paper! The boys grab markers and pencils to create something unique and memorable.

Yanet Obarrio Sanchez: “It's something about teaching the spirit of the holidays and bringing us closer.”


United Way Center for Financial Stability:

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox