TULSA, Okla. — With just a few weeks left to finish holiday shopping, it's important to make sure those gifts don't put you in a financial hole.
The Tulsa Financial Empowerment Center is giving advice to keep you from overspending. The FEC suggests having a gift budget to keep you from spending more than you can afford.
“If you did it early enough, make it a realistic one because you can get caught up in the I wanna give, I wanna give or the kinds of things you wanna give," said Modisane Kwanza, program manager for financial resilience with Goodwill Tulsa. "And when you’re doing it that way, that’s when the overspending begins.”
Kwanza said it’s okay if you need to adjust your budget. He also said if you’re using a credit card to make sure you know how much you’re spending.
“Be careful about that debt limit that you’re using," Kwanza said. "So if you have maybe multiple ones maybe spread it out so it’s not all on one so you’re keeping the usage rate kind of small.”
The FEC is celebrating its first anniversary on Friday. It’s a partnership between the city of Tulsa and Goodwill Industries of Tulsa to provide free financial help to Tulsans.
So far, the center helped more than 170 clients and helped them save thousands of dollars. Bilingual counselors are there to assist anyone, no matter their financial situation. Kwanza said it's a no-judgment zone.
“There’s really no barrier to accessing, you know, counselors that can help on a range of issues from budgeting to getting back out of that debt from the holidays to working towards long-term goals like buying a house or even starting a business," said Krystal Reyes, chief resilience officer for the city of Tulsa.
“We’ve helped folks with their credit scores," Kwanza said. "We’ve helped folks just get an idea of what debts they have. We’ve helped folks figure out and manage how to work with any past due bills they might have or anything. Or just our plan for the future. Just a look at their money differently and how they spend it.”
If you get through the holidays and realize you spent a little too much or just have questions about bills and finances, you can reach out to the FEC. You can call 918-802-7279. You can visit their website here.
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