Bud­get­ing with kids

Spend less while teach­ing money lessons

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - BUSINESS -

School’s out and kids have high ex­pec­ta­tions for a mem­o­rable sum­mer, but there are ways to stick to a bud­get while also teach­ing your chil­dren a thing or two about money.

Whether it’s a week­end road trip or an af­ter­noon ac­tiv­ity, Jeff Schwartz, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Con­sol­i­dated Credit Coun­sel­ing Ser­vices of Canada, rec­om­mends in­volv­ing chil­dren in the plan­ning process – es­pe­cially when it comes to the bud­get.

“All too of­ten, money is a taboo topic at the kitchen ta­ble, but the sooner your kids start think­ing about money in a re­spon­si­ble way, the sooner they’ll de­velop sound fi­nan­cial habits that well ben­e­fit them for their whole life,” says Schwartz. “You’ll help them un­der­stand the value of a dol­lar and it might take some pres­sure off of you at the same time.”

Con­sol­i­dated Credit rec­om­mends the fol­low­ing steps to help plan your sum­mer fun with the kids:

- Come up with a rea­son­able amount. En­ter­tain­ment spend­ing should take up about five per cent of a re­spon­si­ble monthly bud­get. If you’d like to spend more than 5 per cent, make ad­just­ments else­where in your bud­get.

- Divvy it up. Once you’ve set­tled on an amount, sit your kids down with a cal­en­dar, pad of pa­per, lap­top and a stack of Mo­nop­oly money. The first and best les­son you can teach your kids about bud­get­ing is made clear when they see that the ‘ sum­mer fun’ bud­get is a fi­nite amount.

- Re­search ac­tiv­i­ties and des­ti­na­tions and the costs as­so­ci­ated with each. Then, sug­gest some free­bies. Teach your chil­dren how to stretch their en­ter­tain­ment dol­lars by re­search­ing free, or al­most free, sum­mer ac­tiv­i­ties like street fes­ti­vals or trips to nearby beaches, lakes or swimming pools.

- Re­ward fru­gal­ity. Has your child been bug­ging you for the latest toy or video game? Let them know that if they come un­der bud­get by do­ing some sound, in­ex­pen­sive plan­ning, they can take the leftovers to the mall.

“Be­sides sav­ing money and teach­ing a few lessons, en­gag­ing your chil­dren in the bud­getary process will also give them a sense of ac­com­plish­ment and re­spon­si­bil­ity within the house­hold,” Schwartz said.

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