It’s December, and you know what that means … Christmas tree lots popping up, holiday music playing everywhere, and letters to Santa being written. Believe it or not, this is a perfect time to have some of those money conversations with your kids. Spending can easily get out of control this time of year before you even realize it. It is a great lesson to share with your kids because if you don’t teach it to them, who will?
First, sit down as a family and determine the holiday budget. Include things like gifts, food, travel, cards, postage, supplies for making gifts, wrapping paper, parties, etc. Ensure you stay within the budget, so you don’t spend the next few months paying interest on credit cards to pay for everything. Involve the kids in this budgeting conversation and have them help.
Now that you have a plan let’s put it into action. Homemade gifts are a really great way to say you care and keep the cost down. Set aside an area where the family can do this together, whether it is baking, gift making, or a combination of both. The further out you plan, the better chance you have at getting supplies you need on sale.
Now it’s time to turn your kids into savvy shoppers. Deals and specials are abundant this time of year but don’t find yourself caught up in the commercial hype, like Black Friday. Turn this into a family competition on who can find the best deals. This is also a great time to talk about quantity vs. quality.
Be sure to keep track of your spending. Stay within the budget and see the savings you have been able to find. If you save enough, you can always do something special with the extra money … perhaps something for the family, or in the true spirit of the season, find a family that could use some help and gift it to them.
While the holidays and Christmas, in particular, have been over-commercialized, it doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. It’s all about taking control and making it what you want it to be for your family. These lessons are important to instill early, not to mention the memories it will create for a lifetime.