If you’re like most twenty-something graduates, your finances probably aren’t where you thought they’d be by now. You may not have your dream job – or your dream salary – which means you might need a little extra help getting ahead. And whether you need your parents to cover some of your expenses or co-sign a loan, it all starts with an open and honest conversation about everyone’s favorite topic: money.

Believe it or not, the holiday season can be the ideal time to have this talk. Even though the holidays can be stressful, they’re also a time when you and your parents are together with minimal distractions – offering the ideal opportunity to talk things through. With that said, here’s how to talk to your parents about money when you’re home for the holidays:

1. Prove that you’ve been working hard.

This first step is part of your bigger financial picture, and it starts before you have the money conversation with your parents. If you want your mom and dad to help you with money, you’ll need to prove to them that you’re a hard worker who is trying to be responsible. That means showing them that you’re steadily employed or that you’re actively trying as hard as you can to find a new job.

2. Explain your financial situation.

Be honest with your parents and tell them exactly where you are financially. Explain what you’re currently earning, what you’d like to accomplish, and what your goals are. Show them that you have a plan for your life and your finances, you just need some help getting there – either in the form of financial assistance or help qualifying for an important loan.

3. Share your budget with your parents.

This is an important step because simply having a budget shows your parents that you’re responsible. Create a document that lists your monthly income after taxes, as well as all of your bills, student loan payments, and expenses. If you’re asking your parents for money, use your budget to show them that you’ve taken steps to cut back on your spending, for example by taking public transportation and only eating meals at home. If you’re asking your parents to co-sign a loan, you can use your budget to prove that you can afford the payments.

No matter where you are in your life and career, don’t beat yourself up over needing help from your parents. The reality is, tons of other graduates are in the exact same boat, so it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. Just continue to budget, work hard, and be responsible, and your finances will feel more manageable before you know it.

Please note that the information provided on this website is provided on a general basis and may not apply to your own specific individual needs, goals, financial position, experience, etc. LendKey does not guarantee that the information provided on any third-party website that LendKey offers a hyperlink to is up-to-date and accurate at the time you access it, and LendKey does not guarantee that information provided on such external websites (and this website) is best-suited for your particular circumstances. Therefore, you may want to consult with an expert (financial adviser, school financial aid office, etc.) before making financial decisions that may be discussed on this website.