Teaching kids about money is a worthwhile endeavor no matter what time of year it is. Holiday shopping might be one of the better times to take them to school, though. Here are some ways to teach children about budgeting through holiday shopping.
You can take your time
Because of the internet, the majority of the shopping is done online. You are able to take your time and actually show them what you’re doing and why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Let’s say you’re on a website and you’re buying several things for your family members (as long as it’s stuff for them…no spoiling surprises). The items in your cart total $200 and your budget per person is $50. With those numbers, you’re able to show your children that you’re buying for 4 people. You’re able to show that you set a number and you’re sticking to it.
With spending comes saving. Another item you can incorporate when teaching your children about budgeting is saving money.
Our family has a separate savings account specifically for holiday spending. We determine how much we’re going to spend per person and add up how many people we’re going to buy for. Then we take that total and divide it by 52 (for 52 weeks in a year). The next thing we do is take the total from that equation and set up an automatic transfer from checking to holiday savings. That way, we have the money saved and ready when we start buying gifts for people. That enables us to continue with our normal budget and financial plan without eating into our regular cash flow.
How to teach
I think there are a lot of parts of the holiday season that you can model for your children. When you walk into a store, there’s typically someone outside ringing a bell for the Salvation Army. That could be a good opportunity for you to teach your children about paying it forward and giving it to someone less fortunate than them.
You could give your children $20 or some other dollar amount of your choosing. With the money you gave them, you could give them some options. Buy something for yourself, buy something for someone else, or split up the money and buy for a few people. Depending on what they do, it could be a good opportunity for your to teach them about thinking of others instead of thinking about yourself.
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