An­gelique Ruz­icka

CityPress - - Tenders -

Be­fore blow­ing your Christ­mas bud­get on the lat­est elec­tronic de­vice, get your child to agree to rent an item first. This will help you to gauge if they will make use of the item enough for you to buy it.

The last thing you want to do is buy some­thing brand new only to find that it’s gather­ing dust on a shelf a few weeks later. Teljoy of­fers tele­vi­sions, lap­tops, cell­phones and other gad­gets such as PlayS­ta­tions and Xboxes to rent.

Teljoy says this op­tion helps peo­ple avoid un­nec­es­sary debt, and it of­fers full pro­tec­tion of not only the de­vices but their credit life. Rentals start at R89 a month.

Jo­han­nes­burg-based wealth coach Tanya Haf­fern has daugh­ters aged nine and 12, and she rec­om­mends spend­ing time out­doors as much as pos­si­ble in­stead of en­gag­ing with gad­gets.

“Buy a tram­po­line from a sec­ond-hand shop for hours of fun with a side ben­e­fit of fit­ness. Splash in the pool. If you don’t have one, head to your pub­lic pool – it costs about R10 for adults and R6 for chil­dren. Most pub­lic pools are sur­pris­ingly well main­tained.”

If you need to do some­thing in­side on a rainy day that doesn’t in­volve gad­gets, con­sider teach­ing your chil­dren some card games.

“Card games teach ba­sic count­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills. Play board games as a fam­ily. Learn how your chil­dren deal with los­ing and how quickly they grasp new con­cepts,” sug­gests Haf­fern.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Health in the US, young­sters spend an aver­age of five to seven hours look­ing at screens dur­ing their spare time, but too much gam­ing could also af­fect your med­i­cal costs in the fu­ture.

Ac­cord­ing to a new study by San Diego State Uni­ver­sity psy­chol­o­gist Jean Twenge and Uni­ver­sity of Ge­or­gia psy­chol­ogy pro­fes­sor W Keith Camp­bell, too much time spent on gam­ing, smart­phones and watch­ing tele­vi­sion is linked to height­ened lev­els and di­ag­no­sis of anx­i­ety or de­pres­sion in chil­dren as young as two.

Ded­i­cate the hours that would’ve been taken up by screen time to do some­thing that the en­tire fam­ily can get in­volved in.

“Un­di­vided at­ten­tion is fast be­com­ing the most price­less gift of all. Put all your de­vices away every evening over din­ner and spend fo­cused time with your chil­dren. That doesn’t cost a thing!” says Haf­fern.

Your teenager or child may brag about the fact that they can down­load games for free.

It’s true that app stores have be­come dom­i­nated by freemium games, but the dan­ger is not in the down­load – it lies in all those in-app pur­chases to progress to an­other level or get more weapons/coins. In some cases, you also have to pay if you want ad-free ver­sions of the game.

Keep in mind that Fort­nite, one of the big­gest on­line games, is owned by Ten­cent, the Chi­nese com­pany that makes up a large per­cent­age of Naspers’ share price. Why do you think the com­pany is do­ing so well?

Make sure you un­der­stand the costs of the games be­fore your let your chil­dren play.

It’s not only games and gad­gets that can put a strain on our fi­nances – teenagers and chil­dren also de­mand to be taken out for meals, to the movies, to the beach and to theme parks. Petrol, park­ing fees and the ac­tual cost of the en­ter­tain­ment (food and drinks) all add up.

If go­ing out as an oc­ca­sional treat is un­avoid­able for your fam­ily, see if you can save while you’re at it. There are plenty of group-buy­ing web­sites that of­fer deals – try Hyperli, Wikide­als, Daddy’s Deals and DealZone.

Al­ter­na­tively, make use of your re­wards points/sys­tems that you be­long to. Dis­cov­ery Vi­tal­ity kids mem­bers, for in­stance, can watch movies for free if they are be­tween the ages of two and 18, as long as the movie starts be­fore 7pm. Mean­while, Edgars Club card mem­bers can save up to 50% on two movie tick­ets every day at Ster-Kinekor.

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