No matter what age your child, the school holidays can be EXPENSIVE! Even if they are not at school yet, there are still plenty of holiday-related activities that they’ll want to do. If they are at school then there’s a minimum of two weeks to fill in. So this time, instead of putting up with the constant “I’m bored” nagging and requests for more money, turn it around and put your kids in charge.
Work out a spending limit
How much cash can you afford to spend on holiday activities? Talk about it with your kids; they know that parents work but they may not think about it in terms of working to earn money. Then decide together on the amount of holiday spending money. Whatever the amount is, that’s the limit that your children have to work with!
Plan a budget
Whatever lump sum of money you have decided on, chances are it will seem like a HUGE amount to your kids, so help them to research their spending options. They can have hours of fun online, researching the cost of movie tickets, the costs of theme parks or zoos and the cost of everything else on offer. Depending on the age of your children, they can either do the research with your help or by themselves. They will very quickly discover, as adults are only too aware, that they can’t afford to do everything they want!
Show them how to cut costs
They have a spending limit, they have a wish list (aka a budget) – another really valuable lesson for kids is learning how to cut costs, so give them some suggestions. Taking a cut lunch to the zoo instead of buying takeaway, for example, could save them $20. Taking bottled water instead of buying it could save a few dollars more. The entry fee to a water theme park, as another example, could fund several visits to a council pool. You can do a lot of online research here as well, finding free or subsidized activities. The earlier that kids learn how to cut costs and prioritise spending, the easier they will find it to manage money. And last but certainly not least…
Encourage them to earn
If they want to do more than they can afford on the money you have given them, then encourage them to earn! Getting that connection between work and reward is a fantastic lesson even for little kids. Again depending on their age, they could have a food stall on the footpath, they could offer to walk a neighbour’s dogs or wash cars. Or simply just do some chores around the house. It’s often surprising just how much children value the money that they earn themselves!
Putting your kids in charge of the school holiday spending benefits parents by reducing the “nag” factor, and it benefits kids via some valuable money-management lessons. It’s most certainly a win/win situation.