Friday, November 16, 2018

3 Ways to Teach Kids the Value of Money During the Holidays

Without Money Becoming the Most Valuable Thing

Money doesn’t grow on trees. Money can’t buy happiness. Money talks. And the new one my daughter recently shared with me… M.O.M. stands for Made of Money. Teaching kids the value of money, without letting money become a core value, is a challenging job. Our kids are exposed to so much commercialism, and it is only natural that they get excited about the thing that often cost money – toys, trips, things. But statistics in the United States show that we need to do so much more when it comes to financial knowledge and our kids.

During the holidays it can be even more overwhelming to try to teach financial literacy to our kids, but there are some tools we can use to see our families safely through to the other side of Christmas without our kids, and us, going mad over money.

1. Use Bankaroo, the Free Financial Planning App for Kids

If you’re kids are asking for money left and right, or see stars light up when they receive gifts of Christmas money, help them to make good financial decisions by using this free app, Bankaroo, that will help them make financial goals and help you see where they still need some help. This app allows you to work with your kids in a virtual world that can imitate their real financial goals.

  • Users can input how much money they have in a savings account, how much allowance (if any) is received, and if there are any matching funds.
  • Kids can track their deposits and withdrawals, allowing for recurring deposits and withdrawals and one time transactions.
  • There is an entire section devoted to making goals – why I like this program the most. Kids record financial goals – buying a new bike, saving to make a donation or buy a gift, etc., and then track how they meet those goals. (Just a programming note – when you enter your goal amount, don’t include the $ symbol or it will not read your amount correctly – so instead of $25, just type in 25.)
  • Kids can also earn virtual badges for various accomplishments.

2. Take Them Shopping with a Purpose and a Plan

I am recovering from a night of shopping the Black Friday deals with 3 teenagers. We made lists, made plans, and then hit the stores. And through it all we talked about prices, needs vs. wants, and why we were making purchases. To help you guide your kids through holiday shopping and teach them how to make good decisions, try asking the following question (of yourself and them).

Why am I buying this item? If the answer is only “because it is a good deal,” then ask yourself if that is a responsible spending decision.

Put your kids in control of the finances, and shop with cash. It is amazing how much power those two things have on our spending.

  • Our exchange student has to manage his money judiciously, and he even remarked that it is so amazing how much more he pays attention to his spending because it is his own money. Help your kids determine their budget, and let them spend their own money. Money mistakes are much more powerful in their lessons when it is your own money.
  • Shopping actually puts you in control of spending. There is a finite amount in your hand and you are much more likely to spend it wisely.

You can also teach your kids about financial responsibility, especially during the holidays, by setting some parameters for holiday spending.

  • Set a family budget. You can get detailed about how much per child is typically spent, or at least create a budget for other expenses (How much do you spend on Aunt Sally and the cousins each year?).
  • Set spending limits for gifts, especially for extended family.
  • Set priorities and realistic expectations. Even when my kids were small and would write letters to Santa, they knew to choose 2 or 3 top things on their lists, and they just knew Santa wouldn’t be delivering a pony or new full-sized airplane.
  • Be a good example. Last night when I was elbow to elbow with other shoppers, and face to face with “good deals”, I would stick to my lists that we made ahead of time.

3. Focus on the Free and the Fun

Yes – toys and gadgets are part of the draw of excitement for the holidays. And if you’re like me, there is a strong, faith-filled reason why I want my kids to be celebrating (and it doesn’t involve celebrating the latest i-Anything). The spirit of Christmas can still be filled with wonderful activities and opportunities, and celebrating these with your kids places the emphasis on what matters in your life.

Take advantage of free and fun activities in your communities.

  • Concerts at churches and other local venues
  • Parades of lights
  • Holiday plays
  • Volunteering
  • Watching Christmas movies together
  • Baking holiday treats together to share with neighbors and friends
  • So much more!

When you fill their hearts and minds with memories and purpose, there is less focus on filling their stockings with gifts. 83% of college students have at least one credit card, and the average debt is $2000. Let’s help our kids figure out how to manage and control their money before they find that the bills are controlling them. The season of giving is the perfect time to give our kids lessons about financial responsibility.

It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy. ~George Horace Lorimer

Related posts:

  1. Teach Your Child to Manage Money
  2. Schools Wasting Money and Failing Our Kids
  3. Teach Your Kids to Say “No!”

View full post on Parenting Tips For Raising Successful Kids |

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