Money Power: Kids can get financial education from holidays
BY JANET BODNAR Money Power
Saturday, December 01, 2012
12/01/12 at 5:31 AM
I'm always impressed by the wonderful responses from readers to my annual "Putting Santa on a Budget" column.
Last year I heard from Pam, who says she gives her children a budget when they're making their holiday lists.
"I love finding ways to incorporate budgeting into kids' everyday lives," Pam says.
Pam is my inspiration for this year's column.
So here are five ways to convert holiday-shopping madness into a learning experience for children:
Teach kids how to budget.
Give them a ballpark figure to work with, or have them attach dollar amounts to everything on their list. My son did that one year, and the grand total exceeded $1,000 - shocking even to him.
Teach them to be thoughtful.
Kids often assume that bigger is better, so they need to learn that small gifts to family and friends can be more affordable - and thoughtful, too.
If they're buying a gift for someone who likes to draw, how about colored pencils or pens, or self-inking stamps? Chocolate lovers would appreciate a holiday mug filled with packets of hot cocoa mix.
Teach them to be generous.
Have the kids earmark some of their money to buy a gift for a local toy drive. Or they could choose a gift from a site such as Heifer International, at heifer.org.
If you're dropping off used clothes or toys at a local family shelter, bring the kids with you so that they can see charity in action.
Teach them not to go overboard.
You want them to enjoy getting - and giving - over the holidays, but you don't want them to lose perspective.
That starts with you; if you don't get carried away, neither will they.
I welcome your suggestions on how to keep your cool during the holidays so that I can use them for inspiration next year.
Original Print Headline: Good time for kids to learn budgeting
Janet Bodnar is editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and the author of "Raising Money Smart Kids" (Kaplan, $17.95) and "Money Smart Women" (Kaplan, $15.95). To send her a question or comment, go to tulsaworld.com/kiplingerfeedback.