8 Things Regarding Money You Can Teach Your Children This Holiday Season

We all want our children to be responsible with money and are always ready to impart our words of wisdom, but what are we teaching them by example? Have you ever stopped to consider the impact of your financial habits on your children? The holidays are a great time to teach children a few very important principals about money. Use the pointers below to teach your children fundamental values surrounding money.

1. Do not engage in emotional shopping even during the holiday season– Shopping to soothe feelings, appease relatives or until you are financially exhausted is only productive in extreme cases and if you are shopping with a cash budget. Using a credit card to fund a shopping spree can cause undue hardship in the future and sets a poor example for children. How, do you ask? While children see a parent shop for whatever they desire using a credit card; they often do not see the credit card bill arrive or are they able to appreciate the time it takes for the parent to earn the money needed to repay the debt. Show your children instead that you are shopping with a budget and stick to it.

2. Teach children the value of their time and companionship– Many senior citizen homes, hospital wards and other community programs welcome volunteers to assist in various aspects of the day to day functions of the facility. Visit one of the centers as a family, or even gather a group of friends and their families, to teach children the value of their time, compassion, empathy and respect. Values that they will surely carry into their future.

3. Earn instead of spend during the holidays – Encourage every member of your family to earn extra money for the holiday season in order to cover the cost of gifts. Brainstorm and identify activities that each member of your family can perform to contribute to the holiday budget. Even young children can be included in this activity. Explain that the money they contribute goes to a gift they would like to buy for someone special, like a grandparent, sibling, teacher or friend, and let them choose a gift to purchase. Teach them that the harder they work, the more they will earn and in turn the more they will have to spend.

4. Teach them charity and the joy of gifting – Help your children learn that gifting can feel more rewarding than receiving. As a family donate a percentage of the holiday budget to charity. You can vote as a family to decide which charity to make the donation to. You may even consider helping someone who you know to be in need, anonymously. Do it from your heart and show your children how great a feeling you can get from doing selfless acts of kindness. Encourage children to share their feelings and come up with other ways to serve their communities all year long.

5. Spend responsibly – Fore-go buying a real tree year after year. Instead invest in a “looks like the real thing” Christmas tree. Artificial trees are good for the environment and for your holiday budget. A fraction of the money you save each year can go to buying new ornaments or towards the family charity budget. Just imagine the thousands of trees that will be spared year after year by families choosing to purchase an artificial tree.

6. Shop wisely– Shop with value for dollar in mind at all times. When possible ask for discounts from managers and customer service departments. Using cash back or reward point’s credit / debit cards are a good way to make your spending work for you. Shop online for comparative pricing options.

7. A budget is a life saver during celebrations – No matter what emergency arises; stay within your budget. Portions and seating can always be worked out; however, lack of funding cannot. While it may not seem to be all that fun during the holiday season to take such frugal measures, it can prevent a great deal of stress in the months to come.

8. Do not fund celebrations with credit cards – Credit cards can be the beginning of a financial death, if consumers are not careful. Realistically, if you have to pay for a party with a credit card, should you really be paying for a party? If you still want to host a celebration, consider making it a potluck dinner where guests can each bring a dish or something to contribute. You may be surprised as to how many of your friends and family may be receptive to the idea.

Teaching children financial restraint during the holiday season can lead to a lifetime of responsible financial planning. Encouraging children to understand the value of money and the fact that money must be earned is a gift far greater than any toy.

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