Those of you who have read my previous blog posts know I am a big supporter of teaching kids how to spend, save, invest and give. Even with all the craziness of Christmas, there is no better time to demonstrate these principles.
Whether it is giving to your favourite charity to support those in need or saving money received as a Christmas gift, knowing what to do with money is the important part.
Here are some easy, no fuss ways to take advantage of helping your kids become money savvy at Christmas time:
1. Make Money Jars in the Holidays
In the holidays, make jars and label them Save, Spend and Give. This is a fun art and craft activty that then can be used to help your kids manage their money.
When they receive money from doing chores, outside work or from gifts, get them in the habit of allocating a certain amount to each jar. I like to use 30% for spending, 50% for saving and 20% for giving. These percentages can be adjusted as you like or as your child grows and enters teenage years when they start to have their own expenses.
2. The Time for Giving
If your child has been putting money away for giving or you are teaching them that giving is one of the different ways to use money, there is never a better time to help those in need.
Almost every charity has a Christmas appeal which look for donations of food, toys, money etc. Your local community centre, hospital, church or school is also likely to be looking for contributions at this time of year.
Another way to give is to say to your child that for every toy they receive at Christmas time they have to choose one to give away to a child less fortunate. This helps your child to understand giving and receiving (and keeps the toy room under control!).
3. Give the Gift that Helps Teach Kids About Money
Give the gift that helps your child become more money savvy. Give them a money box if you prefer not to make one. But not just any moneybox, one that teaches them the principles I have been talking about. There are a few different types listed below. My favourite though is the Money Savvy Pig as it has the four compartments, Spend, Save, Invest and Donate in the one piggy bank.
4. Ask for Money Instead of Gifts
Knowing what to buy children at Christmas time can sometimes be difficult. A lot of the toys or things they want they get sick of within a couple of months. If this sounds like your child, and friends or relatives insist on buying them something for Christmas, why not say to give them money? Whether cash, so they can put it in their money jars or money straight into their bank account. While this may feel a little uncomfortable, most time the giver will be pleased it is going towards something they really want or something useful rather than something frivolous.
Your child can then determine if they want to spend or save the money received. Ideally, they should spend some and save the rest so they can purchase something of higher value in the future.
5. Save Money Shopping for Bargains
Whether you a shopping for gifts before Christmas or shopping in the sales after Christmas, planning ahead and searching for the right price can save lots of money this Christmas.
Many shops have sales prior to Christmas. Sometimes they are on only for one day or only on selected items so knowing what you want is important. Firstly, write a list of everyone you need to buy presents for and the types of things you want to buy them plus the total amount you want to spend.
Then start searching online for the things that might be suitable. Finding the right model, colour etc and knowing what the prices range from prior to buying them is really useful in knowing if you are getting a bargain. Then, wait for the right time. Starting Christmas shopping about 3-4 weeks in advance is worth doing to make some great savings.
Equally, buy gifts for the following year or Christmas decorations in the sales after Christmas. This will save you money for next year.
Online shopping has become a well known, popular trend thanks to its convenience and simplicity. However, for all its usefulness the Internet can also be a dangerous place to spend money. This is why it is important to teach kids how to stay safe while online shopping.
Follow these quick tips for buying online to ensure your child has a good understanding of online safety;
Payment Methods and Personal Information
Providing personal information is a necessity of online shopping, however this information should always be given out cautiously. Explain to your kids that a site should never ask for personal information like Tax File Numbers, Social Security Numbers or other information that doesn't include a shipping address and payment method. Common payment methods include credit cards, debit cards, PayPal and prepaid cards. The most recommended choice is to stick with prepaid or debit cards to limit overspending. If using a credit card, always check your transactions and query any that you do not recognise.
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