When it comes to the holidays, we think about the cookies, the hot chocolate, and the time with family, but we often overlook the expenses that can add up quickly. Managing your money is especially important when it comes to planning your gift giving practices for the year.

We sat down with David Echelbarger, a CPA and president of EHTC in Grand Rapids. He shared some tips and insight with us on how to successfully navigate the holidays without completely emptying your wallet.

Echelbarger says you need to consider your entire financial situation before making your written holiday budget.

He also says using only cash is the best way to stick to your budget.

In planning your budget, Echelbarger recommends you plan for a bit of wiggle room and even attempt to come in under budget in order to make sure you can cover unexpected holiday expenses.

It is also important to remember that your budget doesn't have to match someone else's. A gift doesn't have to cost a lot of money in order to mean a lot.

However, when it comes to saving for and spending money on gifts, Echbelbarger says it is essential to start early.

If you do go over budget, it may be helpful to take on a part time job in order to pay off you credit cards or refill your savings account.

Getting back on track is important, so that you don't start next year off on the wrong foot, Echbelbarger told us.

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