Your children and teens are probably only thinking about one thing this December – Christmas and unsurprisingly what gifts they’ll be buying and receiving.
While teaching your children about money may not be high on the agenda over the festive period, Christmas is one of the most crucial times of the year financially; get it right and it’s a fantastic time of year, but get it wrong and you could be living with the consequences well into 2014...
Here are our tips on how to help your children learn about money this Christmas:
1. Make a list, check it twice
We suggest that before you begin shopping for Christmas gifts, encourage your children sit down and write a list (just like Santa!) on what the family plans to give over this festive period and the budget.
Throughout this conversation, emphasise that it is the thought that counts and encourage them to make homemade gifts as well. Wouldn’t their grandparents prefer a gift made by them more than something they bought?
By sitting down and writing this list together, it provides a great example that just like anything else you buy, there should be a plan and budget to be considered (and that means no impulse spending!).
2. Let them use their pocket money
If you give your children pocket money, it’s a great opportunity to teach them money skills including budgeting, saving and spending. Of course, make sure you set a financial limit on what they plan to buy as gifts that they want to give!
They’ll have a greater appreciation of the cost of presents (both received and given) when it is coming out of their own funds.
3. Find the best offers
It’s no secret that our children and teens are all too familiar with toy catalogues and online shopping these days. Why not ask them to find the best deals that they can find for items on the Christmas shopping list? Empower them to become savvy and thrifty shoppers by encouraging them to notice what is good value for money and compare the price of items.
4. Teach them about the spirit of Christmas
One of the big teachings over Christmas is making sure our children understand the true messages of Christmas – that it’s not about just buying presents or feeling entitled to get them. It’s also a good time to remind them that there are those who are less fortunate in the world.
You could encourage your children to donate some of their own pocket money directly to charity, or help them go through their older clothes, games and toy boxes to pull together a package to donate to a local children’s charity.
Whether you plan a lavish or frugal Christmas, it’s a great opportunity to teach children about the value of money and with that, help them understand the true meaning of giving this Christmas.