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So, I'm new to the "living on my own" game and let me tell you — it's been a pretty big struggle. I really never understood how much the little things cost until I moved out a couple years ago. That being said, I will take free things whenever I can get them.

Maybe you're already established and comfortable in your life — good for you! However, it's still useful to ask for things that you would otherwise have to buy for Christmas. Hey — I didn't want to be an adult either, but that's just the way things are.

Whether you're a young adult or a fully fledged old person, here are five major categories of presents you should definitely include on your wish list.

1. Kitchen supplies

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Not only are quality pots and pans super expensive, but the little things count too — cutlery, appliances and tools all add up. Putting big items like a food processor or a slow cooker on your wish list takes the hassle and anxiety out of buying one for yourself.

Not to mention, kitchen supplies will last you pretty long — unlike that bottle of brandy you and your cousins killed in one night.

2. Music or movie and TV subscriptions

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Music, movies and television are all consumed by subscription nowadays — I couldn't live without my Spotify, Netflix and HBO GO. Asking for a year's — or a couple years' if it's cheap — subscription to an online streaming service will save you a ton of money.

Let's face it — we can't keep mooching off of our family's accounts or creating new identities for free trials. So ask for a Netflix subscription instead of expensive headphones you can get super cheap knockoffs of.

3. Warm clothing

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Yet another unexpected expense in adult living — warm coats are expensive but absolutely needed for the northeast weather. Asking for a nice wool pea coat or a faux fur lined trencoat will ensure that you'll be toasty warm for years to come.

Heck, why not even socks? Being the butt of so many Christmas jokes, it's time that warm, fuzzy socks made its comeback. Both your feet and your bank account will thank you.

4. Gym Membership

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Ah yes, time for the dreaded New Year's resolution — instead of wasting your own money on a gym membership you'll only use two weeks into the year, why not ask for one instead? This way, maybe you'll even feel guilty for not going and continue your doomed resolution.

Memberships are also usually on sale this time of the year — praying on the weak, no doubt. But who knows? Maybe you'll actually stick it out this year.

5. Money towards an investment

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Do you have student loans creeping up behind you? Need to pay the rent to your swanky Brooklyn apartment soon? Why not ask for straight-up money for Christmas? Yes, it seems like a pretty shallow thing to do, but the holidays are for giving!

For my birthday, I asked my parents to pay that month's rent so I would be worry-free and spent my money on other things I had been putting off. It's not the most heartfelt present, but to me, paying off someone's debt is pretty huge.

Of course, this list is definitely for families that are well-off or at least lower middle class. If your family and friends can't afford these things, don't be distraught if they buy you a cheap present or none at all. It's important to keep in mind that the season is about coming together — while gifts are just an add-on.

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Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

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Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

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5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.