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Holiday shopping lessons about money for your kids

The holidays are a good time to give

The holidays are a good time to give kids some financial responsibility. Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto / Thitaree Sarmkasat

This holiday season, give the gift of a bit of financial education to your child or children, as you shop. You can make it fun and meaningful.

Here’s how.

  • Create a gift list

Let your child decide what type of gifts they want to buy for each person. “Giving them the responsibility of deciding the gifts will prompt an important money lesson: how much a gift will cost vs. how much money they have to spend on what they want to purchase,” says Leslie Tayne, an attorney specializing in financial issues in Melville.

  • Research prices

Use apps and websites to research gift prices and compare it to how much they have for holiday spending. Ask your child if he or she has enough money to pay for the gift list. By allowing them to do the budget work and math themselves, you teach them to plan, find alternative gifts that fit their budget and allocate money properly.

  • Remember others

The holidays are a good time to remind your child to reach out to those who are less fortunate. So, while you’re shopping, perhaps pick up items for toy drives. “Help your child figure out how much they can allocate from their allowance for this purpose. Sweeten the pot by offering to match their donation,” says Tayne.

  • Think ahead

Many people go into debt during the holidays because they haven’t set aside money. Ask your child how much they would like to spend next year so they can start saving soon.

“Open a Holiday Club account,” says Karanlee Kaczmarek, assistant vice president, retail support and business development at Teachers Federal Credit Union in Hauppauge. “Your financial institution will help figure out how much to deposit on either a weekly or monthly basis. Your child will learn to set goals and take small steps to achieve them.”

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