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Teaching your children to budget for gifts

December 8th, 2008

How do you help your children budget for Christmas gifts for their friends?

What do you do when your children want to buy an expensive gift for a friend they don’t know that well?

Is it ok to say, “You can’t spend that much on someone you don’t know that well.”? Does it sound like I’m teaching them to put a price tag on friendship?

I’ve found that it’s a big mistake to go shopping for Christmas gifts with my children for their friends without a budget and a plan. When they want to buy a $20 toy for a classmate they just met 2 weeks ago, it seems incongruous to say “No”, and at the same time try to teach them to be generous to others.

My solution to budgeting my kids for gifts is to give them a set amount, such as $30. Then we sit down and make a list of friends they want to give gifts to. From there, they can decide how much they can spend on each friend.

When we go shopping with the list, I don’t have to be the bad guy to say “No” to an expensive gift.

If they want to spend $20 on one friend, then they will have to be very creative to get gifts for the other 9 friends with $10.

What ways have you found to help your children budget for Christmas gifts?

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  1. We are open about the economy and the fact that so many families are really struggling this year. I am helping them be creative with gift giving and practicing what I preach. Instead of sending a Christmas cards, we are sending a copy of Twas the Night Before Christmas (it’s a digital talk-e-book from ). It’s free and I can insert a message. That’s cheaper than a greeting card and stamp, is better for the environment and is fast and easy. Best of all, my Kids LOVE THESE BOOKS.


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