Nov 18, 2021

How kids can keep their holiday budgets in check

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon us! There’s no better time to take on the topics of budgeting and saving with your family. It’s predicted that holiday sales will grow to $843.4–$859 billion this year. That’s 8.5–10.5% more than last year. Woah. Before your kids start their holiday spending, let’s make a plan to cover everyone on their gift list.

Bring on the budget

Setting a clear budget for the holidays will show your kids they don’t have to go into debt to enjoy the holiday cheer. Holiday debt averaged $1,381 in 2020 (reaching a 6-year high). So, learning how to create a budget — and stick to it — will serve them in the future. Hint: Start by calculating how much everything will cost for the season and how much they’ll need to save.

Make a list (check it twice)

Instead of a wishlist, how about a gift list? Lists can help your kids stay on budget when it comes to spending.

Before your kids head to a store or pop open Amazon, ask them to plan ahead. A few questions to start the convo: Who’s on your gift list? What do you want to buy them? How much will their gift cost — and does it fit into your budget?

A list will keep your kids focused, both in-store or online. And if you’re shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, staying focused is key (more on this later).

Set holiday Savings Goals

Encourage your kids to set up Savings Goals specifically for the holidays in their Greenlight app. They can name it something like “Holiday Fund” or “Gift Goals.” Here’s how to set up a Savings Goal: 

  1. Navigate to your “Savings” tab.

  2. Tap “Add a Savings Goal.”

  3. Enter a title or description of what you will be saving for.

  4. Enter a goal amount.

  5. Tap “Save” to complete the set-up process.

As they move money out of their Savings Goals into a spending category, they’ll send you a request for approval. Look out for when it’s time to cross holiday shopping off their to-do list.

Give them a nudge with Parent-Paid Interest 

Encourage smart saving by setting up Parent-Paid Interest in your Greenlight app. You can set and pay interest on your kids’ savings to teach them the magic of compound interest. Ready to set it up? Start here. 

Some to spend. Some to give.

After your kids reach their holiday Savings Goals, talk them through smart spending, bargain shopping and a holiday favorite, giving. Here are a few days to keep in mind: 

  • Black Friday: The day after Thanksgiving is considered one of the busiest holiday shopping days of the year. It’s known for big sales and discounted prices — a chance to teach your kids how to navigate in-store or online shopping experiences. Show them what it’s like to shop with specific items in mind (and avoid impulse purchases). It’s also never too early to start researching Black Friday deals.

  • Small Business Saturday or Shop Small Saturday: The Saturday after Thanksgiving is all about small businesses. Teach your kids about supporting locally owned businesses and small, unique brick and mortars in your neighborhood.

  • Cyber Monday: The Monday after Thanksgiving is the day to shop some of the best deals of the season online — from the comfort of your home. Pro tip: These online sales often begin on Black Friday and run through Cyber Monday.

  • Giving Tuesday: The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as Giving Tuesday, a day that celebrates all kinds of giving. At Greenlight, we recognize that every dollar has the power to do good. To celebrate the joy of giving, every charitable donation from Nov. 22 through Nov. 30 using their Greenlight card = one entry into our Giving Sweepstakes.

You can help raise financially-healthy and happy kids when you talk about balancing holiday gift shopping with the gift of giving back.

Good things come in small packages

Gift-giving often becomes a major focus during the holiday season, but not all gifts have to come from a store. When your kids make their holiday gift lists, remind them that small, thoughtful gifts are priceless. 

Cookies, DIY ornaments, crafts, handwritten cards and random acts of kindness can go a long way. And nothing beats the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from giving a thoughtful gift.

Get ahead for the holidays with Greenlight

Now it’s their turn to put it into action — with Greenlight by their side. Encourage wise saving, smart spending and thoughtful giving. Sit down with your kids to set up their holiday Savings Goals today.

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