Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How Parents Can Manage Their Finances During the Holidays

Most parents spend the greatest amount of money during the holiday season. Many times the holidays are filled with stress, anxiety, pressure or guilt due to the time and money spent during the holidays. If you don't have the money to buy gifts during the holidays be honest with yourself.  If you have a small amount of money to buy gifts, buy what you can and don't use your credit card to buy gifts unless you have the money to pay the debt off in two or three months.

Don't feel ashamed that you don’t have money to buy gifts.  It really is the thought that counts and if someone gets upset because you only spent $10-$20 on a gift, it's their problem not yours. Many people have lost site of what the holidays are all about. It is not about giving a gift; it is about spending time with your family and friends, being thankful, reflecting on the past year, and thinking about things you would like to change in the New Year. 

Explain to your children that you cannot afford to buy them everything they ask for on their holiday wish list.  Let them know that you still love them but have other bills to pay like rent or mortgage, food, utilities, etc.  Ask them if they want the items on their list or want food on the table.  Sometimes realty is a great way to change a child’s thinking.  Never go into debt or put yourself in a financial crisis for your child.  Children need love not expensive gifts.  Here are 7 tips on how to help parents steer their finances during the holidays. 

  1. Lower expectations. Many times children's expectations for holiday gifts are obtained from friends, classmates or from watching television.  Be realistic - let your children know your financial situation and their price limit for holidays gifts. If they can only get one big gift or one toy let them know as soon as possible.  Teach your children that receiving several gifts doesn't mean a better holiday experience; spending time with family is more important than the number of gifts they receive.  If your children still believe in Santa, buy several small gifts from the dollar store (gifts that actually cost a dollar). That way they will still believe in Santa and save you money.
  1. Be Strong. Don't give in to "puppy dog eyes", whining or complaining from your children.  Stay firm with your decision about gifts for the holidays.  Giving in to your children sets unrealistic expectations and does not prepare them for the disappointments that occur in the real world.
  1. Set a spending limit.  Set a spending limit for your holiday shopping including groceries, gifts, etc.  This will reduce your chances of going into debt and relieve the stress of having to buying things that are not in your budget.  Don't go into debt trying to buy gifts for your children. Do they really need a new desktop or laptop or can they use the one they have until next year.
  1. Unexpected Gifts. If you children decide to give gifts to their babysitter, teachers or new friends - don't be alarmed.  Be creative and bake deserts or make gifts if you are good with arts and crafts. 
  1. Consult with your ex.  Talk with your ex-spouse to make sure your children are not asking for the same gifts and are not trying to use guilt and as a way to get more gifts from both parents because you are divorced. 
  1. Volunteer.  If you children refuse to accept that they cannot get the gifts they want for the holidays take them to a shelter or sign them up to volunteer to help the homeless or sick children to help them change their perspective about life and what's really important.  Other children and families have less than they do and they should be appreciative of whatever they have.
  1. Follow Traditions. If you family has inexpensive traditions follow them this year to save money such as baking cookies, donating used toys, or going through the neighborhood caroling. This will get your children in the holiday spirit, keep them active and distract them from spending time thinking about all the gifts they want for the holidays.

1 comment:

Evan Marcus said...

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