How to teach your kids to manage their money through holiday shopping

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Holidays are a great time to teach kids a variety of values, such as giving to others, appreciating what you have, and learning how to budget and manage money. Here, experts take a look at all the lessons you can teach your kids just by taking them holiday shopping:

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Teach budgeting

Holiday shopping is a great time to teach kids about budgeting, says Tyler Martin, Founder and Certified Business Coach at ThinkTyler. “Give your child some money to spend on gifts for others, with the caveat that they sit down with you to create a budget. Your child will learn the value of making wise financial decisions.

During this process, says Martin, your child may find that some of their gift ideas are not fitting the budget.

“Younger people may have an easier time grasping this notion if the money is given to them in cash. Help them divide the money into piles so they can see how their money will be spent.

Additionally, you may be able to offer an incentive to earn more money for holiday shopping through household chores or chores.

Read: 10 stocks that should take a break from holiday shopping

Describe wants versus needs

The holidays are a great time to show kids the difference between the things they want and the things they need, says Pamela Yellen, financial investigator, founder of Bank on Yourself and author of two New York Times bestselling books. .

“These stylish guys from Madison Avenue would have us believe that we need a lot of things, from the latest tech gadget to this trendy new shoe. They tell us that we are not sexy / successful / cool without what they sell… what do we really need? Stop and think about it and get clarity for yourself. And if you have kids, teaching them the difference between wants and wants will empower them.

She reminds parents of the importance of helping children negotiate the messages they receive about money. “Every moment of their waking day, our children are bombarded with messages and peer pressure urging consumption and instant gratification,” says Pamela. “Plus, technology has elevated buying on a whim to an art form.”

The teenage years, in particular, she says, are a great time to teach children about saving, spending, income, and investing habits.

Take on a family savings challenge

With the holidays on the horizon, families have time to start teaching their children how to save before a purchase. Steffa Mantilla, Certified Financial Education Trainer and CEO / Founder of Money Tamer recommends: “A few months before [the holidays] set up a family savings challenge. Ask each family member to set a savings goal and divide it by the number of months before [the holidays]. This way your child will see how to save and budget for future gift spending so they don’t fall into the holiday debt cycle.

Teach broader economics

Children have so much more to learn about money besides income and expenses, says Monica Eaton-Cardone, co-founder and COO of Chargebacks911, a FinTech company.

“The holidays are a great time to teach children the concept of value, demand and value. Sometimes adults forget how completely foreign ideas of money, capitalism, and pricing are to teenagers. Because it’s not intuitive, kids need to be taught: it’s not enough to covet something, you also need to have the skills to analyze whether or not the price makes sense for your specific budget. If not, then walk away. And really, this is where it should start with a kid: give them a set budget and help them learn to assess value and worth. “

Learn more: The Most Outrageous Holiday Decor of 2020 and Where to Buy It

Teaching Safe Shopping

Eaton-Cardone also urges parents to teach children how to shop carefully online. “Because so much of holiday shopping today, especially in a post-COVID economy, takes place online, you also need to teach your kids to shop safely and avoid threats. of fraud. It’s good to have a budget and it’s important to learn how to shop around, but if you lose all your money to hackers your Christmas will be ruined.

Teach them how to give to charity

The holidays are also a great time to remind kids that not everyone is in the same financial boat and that those who have had enough can help those who have less, says Mantilla. “It’s important not to forget to give since the holidays are all about enjoying others. About 10% of your savings goal could be spent on giving to charity.

Find Out: How To Shop For Everyone On A Tight Vacation Budget

Empower children to make their own choices

Parents often believe that the only way to ensure children develop good financial skills is to closely manage their children’s financial opportunities. However, according to Elizabeth Westendorf, Certified Financial Planner at Fearless Finance, a little empowerment goes a long way.

“One of the best things parents can do to teach kids and teens about money this holiday season is to let them make their own choices. Give them a set amount to spend – this should cover gifts to all friends, relatives, siblings, and relatives. Then they have the option to prioritize how they use that money. There is more property for them. Maybe they want to give gifts to many different people, which may require some creativity to get the money to go further. Or they might find that the thoughtful gift that cost less was more of a hit than the expensive gift they bought at the last minute.

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About the Author

Jordan Rosenfeld is a freelance writer and author of nine books. She holds a BA from Sonoma State University and an MA from Bennington College. His articles and essays on finance and other topics have appeared in a wide range of publications and clients including The Atlantic, The Billfold, Good Magazine, GoBanking Rates, Daily Worth, Quartz, Medical Economics, The New York Times, Ozy, Paypal, The Washington Post and for many business customers. As someone who has had to learn a lot of her lessons about money the hard way, she enjoys writing about personal finance to empower and educate people on how to make the most of what they have and how to get on with it. a better quality of life.


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