The holidays are just around the corner. While you may not be decorating your home or shopping for gifts just yet, there is one thing you need to do: plan your Christmas budget and teach your kids how to do it!
Why a budget for the holidays?
A vacation budget ensures you don’t go crazy and end up regretting it. It is easy to try to ignore your limits in order to give the gift to someone you know will love.
But the truth is, you don’t want this for two reasons: 1) you can’t afford it, and 2) your kids are watching.
Do children also need a Christmas budget?
Children are sponges. You see and absorb everything around you.
You may have experienced it firsthand hearing your child repeat an inappropriate word or phrase. (Or maybe that’s just me 😉).
You will teach your kids everything they need to know from eating to tying their shoes to driving. As a parent, you also make sure they learn how to manage money.
The holidays are a great learning opportunity to teach our children how to budget their money.
It is pretty easy to help your kids create their budget. And when you have a roadmap to knowing what to spend, you can make sure they, too, know exactly where to spend and aren’t spending too much of their own (or yours) money.
Make a list of Christmas presents
No, not a list for your children to write down what they want. You need to make a list of the people they want to buy gifts for this year.
Tell them to include whoever they want. Teachers, coaches, family and friends. Don’t leave anyone off the list.
Assign gift costs
The next step is to ask your kids how much they want to spend on each person listed. Don’t tell them any limits at this point. Let them do what they want.
Sum of expenses
Once the list is ready, calculate the grand total so they can see how much money they will be spending.
At this moment, there is a good chance your child’s eyes will be opened wide or the jaw will pop out in shock. You may even shed some tears.
Let them know you’re not done yet. You start.
Find out how much the children will have to spend on Christmas
After they see what they want to do, let them know how much to spend.
This can mean an overall limit of $ 50 for all gifts this year. Only you and your child know how much they should be willing to spend on gifts.
Make budget adjustments
Once you know how much you have available, you need to do one of three things:
1. Reduce the spending per gift
2. Change the gift to a “free” item
3. Remove people from the list
First, let them look at the amount they wanted to spend on each gift. Let them lower the amount per person to see if they can reduce the total amount to everyone within their limits.
If they can – great! You are done.
However, if they are still over budget, they may want to try another option – change it from buying a gift to something else.
If you’re planning on doing some type of vacation baking, maybe you can do that instead. Bake bread or cookies for a carriage. Even a handmade card is a gift a teacher would rather have than 20 apple-themed gifts.
The last thing they may have to do is reduce the number of people on the list. It may be difficult, but children will find that we cannot always do what we want.
While we might want to buy gifts for 20 people, the budget just doesn’t allow for this. Children need to understand this concept.
Application of your family’s Christmas budget
Once you have the budget set up, the next step is to put it into practice. The easiest way to do this with children is with money envelopes.
Check the list with your child. Have them write the name of each person on the list on an envelope.
Then add the amount they need to spend on that person. When they go to the store to shop, they can see how much they can spend on each person by looking in the envelope.
If they have $ 20 and the gift is $ 19.84, you need to remind them that they will have to pay sales tax so they will have to find something that will cost less.
You need to use a budget for the holidays – your kids should, too!