The holiday season is an exciting time for everyone, but it can also be a stressful time if you're not prepared. Many families are busy booking holiday travel, buying gifts for one another, and donating to their favorite organizations. After all, it is the season for giving!
However, the holidays aren't always the kindest for our wallets. That's why it's a great time of year for sharing financial literacy skills and build a holiday budget as a family. One of the best ways to do this is by teaching your kids about holiday spending and budgeting.
It's not always the easiest conversation to have, though. Luckily, financial literacy doesn't mean getting out a calculator or spreadsheet. Healthy spending and saving is about building behaviors - which is why starting young is the best way to begin.
This holiday season, here are a few ways you can get the whole family involved in a financially fit holiday.
1. Set a Spending Limit: The first thing you need to do is to establish a spending limit that works for your family. This means taking into account your income, your expenses, and any other financial obligations you may have during the holiday season. Once you have set a spending limit, share it with your kids. That doesn't have to be a specific number, but include them in the conversation in taking note of all the expenses. Are you traveling? Have any specific traditions the family values? Explain why it's important to stay within that limit and how it will benefit everyone in the long run.
2. Talk about Priorities: Next, sit down with your kids and discuss what they want to prioritize during the holiday season. It could be buying gifts, going on trips, or attending events. Once you have figured out what's important, create a list of priorities with your kids. This will help you allocate your budget more effectively and make sure that everyone's needs are met.
3. Teach Them How to Save: Encourage your kids to save up for the things they want during the holiday season. You can start by giving them an allowance or helping them earn money through chores. Let them know that they can't always get what they want right away, but with a little bit of effort and planning, they can save up and get what they want in the long run.
4. Lead by Example: Finally, lead by example. Show your kids how you budget and prioritize during the holiday season. Talk to them about your own financial goals and struggles. Let them see how you make decisions and stick to a budget. This will give them a valuable role model and show them that budgeting and financial responsibility are important skills to have.
You may be surprised at how much your child notices. They're surrounded by advertisements, sales, busy stores, and maybe a few more packages arriving at the door than usual. It's important to emphasize that though the holidays can be a joyous time, it's all the merrier when you know how to spend.
For more financial literacy resources and games ready for at home learning, check out FitMoney's free, non-biased curriculum.