Shops are buzzing, bells are jingling, and halls are being decked. The energy of the holiday season is palpable, but what is the best way to make merry without fretting over incoming January bills? Get the whole family involved with three simple activities to create a holiday celebration that will save you money, teach your kids financial literacy and let you get back to enjoying time with your family.
- Choose your traditions wisely: This year don’t just carefully analyze your shopping list, take a hard look at the holiday traditions your family enjoys. Get your family together and write down all of your holiday activities””opening presents, shopping, decorating, eating out””anything you like to do. Rate them based on how much happiness they bring you. Then rate their cost. You’ll be surprised how many activities make your family happy that cost very little, or that cost a ton and bring very little enjoyment. Institute family traditions accordingly and help your children understand how to spend their money sensibly.
- Host a hand-made holiday: One rule: gifts have to be hand-made. Help your kids understand the value of creating something themselves. If your kids want to bake holiday treats, for instance, have them add up the cost of all the ingredients and compare the cost to that of store-bought cookies. Having a hand-made holiday will save money and fill up your winter days with novel and exciting family fun.
- Shop for the holidays in January: Holiday decorations can be needlessly expensive. How much do twinkling lights cost, anyway? Wait until January to buy your decorations for a fraction of the price, and then pack them away with the rest of your stash. Take your kids with you to the store and show them that by waiting two weeks you can sometimes save up to 90 percent. A little delayed gratification goes a long way. They’ll be as excited as you are when they open up next year’s boxes and find all the purchases they had forgotten about. After all, holiday decorations rarely go out of style.
Not only will you be helping your finances this season by including your children in these decisions””you’ll also be teaching financial literacy lessons they will use their entire life. To help talk to your kids about savings year-round, explore the free online resource for parents called Junior Achievement $ave, USA. The lessons are sponsored by The Allstate Foundation and can help establish a solid financial literacy foundation for which your children will be grateful.
Guest post from Dr. John Box, Senior Vice President of Education, JA WorldwideAbout Junior AchievementÂ® (JA). Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement provides in-school and after-school programs for students which focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. Today, 137 individual area operations reach more than four million students in the United States, with an additional five million students served by operations in 123 other countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.ja.org.