How to Put Kids in Charge of Their Own Holiday Spending

Posted on 11/07/2011

Give your children a holiday gift they can use this Christmas and beyond—a lesson in personal finance. Kids are generous and your little ones may want to buy lavish holiday gifts for their friends, your mail carrier and their karate teacher. But their generosity may not match your budget. This can be a great opportunity to teach children valuable financial lessons by putting them in charge of their own holiday spending.

Give Children Opportunities to Earn In order to put a child in charge of their own holiday gift buying and giving they’ve got to have some money to start with. Provide opportunities for them to earn shopping money with extra household chores that go above and beyond their typical duties. Experts say duties need to be age-appropriate but could include things like raking leaves, washing windows or sweeping the garage. Check out this list of suggested chores from Working to earn this money will make them think harder about spending it.

Help Them List Priorities
Even adults can struggle with who to keep on the must-buy-for list and who to strike off. Help your children brainstorm people in their lives that deserve something special over the holidays. Then help them prioritize the list and narrow it down in order to match their budget.

Create a Gift Budget
Before heading to the mall create a budget. Get help from a learning tool like the free Kids Money app. It’s a pocket money calculator for kids that helps them set financial goals and see the progress they’re making.

Brainstorm Gift Ideas

Now that your child has a list of who they want to give gifts to and a budget to match help them brainstorm ideas. Some of these ideas could include free homemade gifts. Visit for a great list of Christmas gifts kids can make. Her ideas include a cookie and tea set, handmade ornaments or a box of fudge.

Explain Stretching a Dollar
Kids may not completely understand the Target coupon policy or price matching at Wal-Mart, but you can explain how to stretch a dollar. Get them involved with scouring sales ads for good deals on gifts they’re hoping to buy. Eventually they’ll grasp the concept that if they’re able to save money they’ll have even more to spend on others this holiday season.

By Alison Storm

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