There’s just something about the holidays. The air is full of good cheer and scents of amazing food. People are generally in a giving mood, including kids.
Holidays with kids, though, can feel a little more complicated, especially when it comes to spending. If you have children, you’re probably used to budgeting as the holidays approach. But are you teaching the same to your kids?
Here are 5 tips for using holiday shopping to teach your kids about responsible spending.
1. Encourage your kids to make shopping lists
Have you ever taken your kids shopping, and they want to buy the first things they see? Children tend to make impulsive decisions, which makes it difficult to teach them about responsible spending.
Before shopping for gifts, ask your kids to write down who they are shopping for and what those people would like for the holidays.
Pro tip: It’s easy to find great gifts for everyone on their list if they use a wish list maker like Giftster.
2. Give them a budget for holiday shopping
If your kids are old enough to understand the math needed for basic budgeting, holiday shopping is an excellent time to use a budget. Once they have a set limit for how much they can spend, they can responsibly determine how much to spend on each person on their gift list.
When your kids are little, this budget doesn’t need to be very big, and it can come out of your pocket instead of theirs. But as your kids get older and earn their own money, you can help them determine reasonable budgets for shopping for friends and relatives.
3. Create a plan for saving money before shopping
Many families save throughout the year so they can afford presents around the holidays. Long-term saving may be difficult for kids to understand, but they can save money for a few weeks before holiday shopping.
Whether through an allowance or additional jobs or tasks around the house, help your children earn and save some of their own money to spend on others.
4. Brainstorm gifts that are free or low-cost
When you give your children money, they might want to spend it all. While it’s great that kids want to spend money on others, you do have an opportunity to also teach your kids that not all gifts have a monetary value.
Brainstorm gifts that are free or low-cost, such as DIY “coupons” or opportunities to spend time together. You might be surprised how creative and thoughtful your kids can be.
5. Donate items to teach the value of giving
While you’re holiday shopping for others, you can also make donations to those who are less fortunate. Many stores collect new, wrapped toys for charity organizations. Your kids can learn about spending by understanding the value of giving to others.
You can also ask your kids to go through the house and collect unused toys that they would like to give away. Even though these toys may not have value to them anymore, they will probably be very appreciated by someone else.