Christmas can sometimes be a stressful time for families, even without the extra financial strain of buying gifts, decorations and lots of delicious food! Many families struggle to decide how much money to give their children in the run-up to Christmas – how much do they really need for presents? So what should you do? Hopefully these top five tips will help families avoid blowouts over money and help you enjoy the festive period.
1. Set a Christmas budget
Between buying presents for everyone, spending money on trips to visit relatives and buying the Christmas feast, it can be easy to overspend during the festive season. The best way to avoid this is to make a budget. If you include the children, it will help them understand where the money is going and you can decide together on an appropriate amount of pocket money for them just before Christmas; it will also empower them to think about the cost of Christmas and be more empathetic in the process!
2. Be firm but flexible
There are always last minute trips to the pantomime, the school ‘Secret Santa’ and expensive outings to the Christmas market, which might leave children begging for extra cash. Whilst it is not wise to give them whatever they want, you shouldn’t deny them every festive treat they ask for either! Discuss what kinds of activities and items they are likely to want to spend money on over Christmas and help them budget accordingly, explaining that you will not give them extra money if they spend it all recklessly, but you might change your tune if they help write all the Christmas cards!
3. Decide as a family how much to spend on Christmas presents
A common argument at Christmas is often over how much money should be spent on each child. For example, an argument could break out if one child receives a brand new iPad and another receives a solitary DVD. Setting a limit on how much to spend on each child will ensure fairness and let them know that everyone will receive presents of equal value!
4. Talk to other parents
“But Mum, so-and-so’s parents gave him £100 just for buying presents!” This is the last thing most parents want to hear in the run-up to Christmas, but sometimes it can’t be avoided. Talking to other parents will give you an idea of how much they are giving their children during the festive season and what they expect the money to be used for. This can help you decide how much is realistic for you to give your children and also give you a chance to pre-emptively prepare for any arguments!
5. Avoid putting everything on a credit card
It’s tempting to just hand your children a credit card when they ask to buy presents off Amazon and forget about it until the bill comes in, but then it can be difficult to track who has bought what and spent what, leading to confusion and possibly arguments. What’s more, it’s not the best way to empower them to learn financial responsibility. Instead, encourage them to use their goHenry card and track the spending as it happens.