Piggy Bank Holidays: How to Teach Kids Financial Lessons During the Holidays

Posted on: in [ Personal Finances ]

Ah, the holidays are here again! While some of us may love this season, others don’t necessarily look forward to the expenses November and December bring.


While you may have become used to the financial burden the holidays bring, your kids most likely have no idea what it takes. They see the benefits – the big dinners with family, the decorations and the gifts – but aren’t able to connect all that to the money you spend.


This holiday season, you can help them connect the dots by including them in the financial planning you and your spouse go through. Whether they are five or 15, it can be beneficial to see financial management in real life. It will also make money seem more “real” to them.


Start by identifying the various costs of the holiday season:

  • Gifts
  • Supplies for making gifts
  • Cards (with postage)
  • Family Christmas letters
  • Gift wrappings
  • Parties
  • Bringing traditional family meals to gatherings


Identify your overall monetary limit for the entire season the best you can. You should also set monetary limits on immediate family members. Be sure to include your kids on these talks you have with your spouse. This will help them see how budgeting works in a real life scenario.


Limit gift giving outside of immediate family with mass-produced homemade gifts. This is another way you can cut costs if you have a long list of people outside of your immediate family you want to give gifts to. Ideas for these easy and efficient gifts include:

  • Cookies
  • Cookie mixes or other mixes for baked goods in a jar
  • Spice rubs
  • Trail mixes


The ingredients for these gifts can all be bought in bulk, making them inexpensive options.


Whenever you go shopping, be sure to take your kids with you. Before you enter the store, make sure you share with them how much you are aiming to spend. Have them help you find items on sale or comparable items at lower prices.


When it comes time to check out, pay with cash if possible. The visual of you handing money to cashier makes a far greater connection with your child than a swipe of your debit card. It’s also not a bad idea to spread out your shopping runs to nip procrastination in the bud.


When you get home from your shopping trips, pull out the receipts and create a running tally of your expenses. Not only does this help you keep track of what you’ve spent, but it also shows your kids how small costs can add up over time.


In order to maximize the benefit for your kids, see how much of your budgeting and shopping you can turn into a game. This will keep them interested while driving home the lessons they are supposed to be learning, which are gifts that will keep giving for the rest of their lives.


State Bank, Equal Housing Lender, Member FDIC


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